What a wonderful and holy God we serve. He is eager to bless us. Many will miss those blessings, though, because of their personal insistence on their viewpoint of God. What they forget is that God’s ways are not our ways. Mankind tends to choose a path that seems right to them, but the end of it is death.
Why then are we so stubborn, so foolish to pursue what and how we think in the face of such wondrous truth and direction from God? We should ambitiously seek God to completely renovate, remodel and reconstruct how we think and about what we think. God will surely do it because He loves His children.
Continue to submit to God, fight every thought, word and deed that does not measure up to God’s direction. Maintain moral excellence, not moral excuses, and rejoice in the golden work of God for His blessings are perfect! Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
Many wonderful things are happening in God’s great plan. We are growing in His grace and wisdom. Many people are changing from lives of “stinkin’ thinkin’” to full lives, ready to serve God in all aspects of their existence. Many are giving up sinful habits and living styles and are coming to the Lord in a proper manner as He has decreed. We are learning to give more freely and abundantly of our money, our time and our talents. God is also showing many individuals and families a deeper wisdom in the management of their finances (pay close attention to that one folks!). And may we never stop thanking the Lord for the salvation of so many of our young ones and the manifestation of God’s presence in their lives.
It is too easy to be irritated or frustrated with the things in our lives that are not “fixed” yet. Rather, let us always look to the Lord in humble submission and gratitude for what He has done for us. If we ever forget, then let us ask Him to remind us of the great rescues and blessings He has bestowed on each one of us. Be in prayer for God’s leadership to guide us on this wonderful journey to serve God and to “seek and save the lost”. There is much to be done. Stay alert. Sharpen your sword in the Word of the Lord! Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
How far are you willing to walk with God – a Sunday stroll’s worth? Or are you willing to go the whole grueling distance? If the footmen have tired you out, how can you compete with the horsemen? (Jeremiah 12:5)
It is a vain dream for anyone to think he can do what God asks without going through God’s training program. Training requires discipline, sacrifice, time and money as well as excellent instruction and examples of those who are good at the task. No one can become a good husband and father, or wife and mother or morally excellent citizen, good student, honest businessman or co-worker, or be patient, loving, generous, pure, etc., without training.
Put in the discipline to control your mind, your will and your emotions. Make the sacrifice to serve others first and give up your own convenience. Put the time into going to church, Bible study and men’s and women’s meetings and the like. Put your money where your morals are! Generously support your church and its ministries and give to other good works as God shows you. Don’t just support these things with your mouth – pull out your wallet and your calendar!
Pour over the Bible and other rich Christian-based materials and follow the examples of Jesus and the other good saints who followed Jesus’ example, back then and now. Keep running well and train constantly so you can finish the race and receive the prize. Don’t be deceived! Just like in a marathon…you can sign up for the race, pay the fee, wear the clothes and show up for the race looking exactly like everyone else. But if you haven’t trained, you will drop out every time until you do it God’s way. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
How wonderful to be living in God’s truth. Truth, as used in the scriptures, means awareness. It doesn’t mean some set of debatable beliefs. The original Greek work for truth means, “Not escape your notice”. In 1 Corinthians 4:5 it tells us to “Wait until the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness.” Wow-we, need that.
We will never live long enough to learn all the ways of God so it is imperative that we have an “awareness” of all the good and evil around us and in anything that we do. And that awareness comes from being in the light, not in the dark! “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105); “In Thy light shall we see light” (Psalm 37:6) and “You were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) definitely make the point.
What a gift from God to give us His Light—King Jesus! Through Jesus, and Him alone, we have access to God. And in that, the “awareness”, we need to continue in this glorious and marvelous life. Even though it seems like life in the coal mines sometimes, the light of His life brings warmth and sight even in the deepest darkness. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
Psalm 16 says, "Preserve me O God, for I take refuge in Thee." We could not last without Him.
Psalm 18 says, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer." Nothing can “get” us in His fortress.
Psalm 23 says, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." We shall lack no good thing!
Do we just say these things? Or do we really make all of our decisions based on them as our rock solid foundation? Understanding and living just these short verses helps us in all of our trials and problems. Imagine what being filled with God’s word would do!
Let’s be refreshed as well as reminded: all we need is in God, through His Son Jesus. Go on now, go to Him. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
God has a wisdom that is far above us. He tells us to give thanks in all things because He knows that being in a state of thanksgiving will keep us in a receptive, humble attitude that can actually lead to our peace and happiness.
Recently, I heard someone say that ungrateful people are unhappy people. Nothing is right for them. Instead of being humbly grateful, they are grumbly hateful! So true!
Enter into the joy of the Lord. Purpose right now not to let your circumstances control your joy. Do not look anymore at what you don’t have or on what is not yet remedied. Instead, look really hard at what you do have and what God has fixed for you in your life…be grateful. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
Just take a trip to any bookstore and you will find shelf after shelf of books written on how to succeed, how to live right, how to raise kids, etc. Don’t get me wrong, now; they are bursting with good advice and suggestions that will bring success to many. But are you aware of what God has to say on these issues? Too many times, we run to man’s wisdom for a quick fix for our deep, multi-layered, multi-faceted needs and thus fall short of a full remedy and restoration.
Thank God for His ways. Think on what it says in Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it, for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success.”
Wow – meditate on it day and night (not once a year); do not let it depart from your mouth (what is coming out of your mouth, anyway?); be careful to do according to all that is written (not just the parts you like) then (and only then) you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success. What a concrete answer for us, all in today’s all-too-fluid world.
God speaks to us in His word…read it, study it, know it. It is “bread for the head”! No more excuses why you can’t fervently and consistently be committed to studying and reading some scriptures each day. Just start with 5 minutes a day, and then add one minute each week until you read 15 minutes a day, as a minimum. The change you are looking for will follow. You will feel, think and act in an increasingly righteous and repentant manner, being able to live the full and abundant life God originally intended for you. What an awesome God we serve! Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
We are often hampered in our decisions, our feelings, and our responses to the everyday trials of life on this planet. This hindering is because of sin. We don’t like to admit that. I am not saying the trial is because of sin; I am saying the hindering to our joy, our wisdom, and to a more proper response to trials, is almost always wrapped in sin.
Our reactions to each other, our mates, our children, our co-workers are not patient, not kind; we tend to brag and be arrogant. We hold into account a wrong suffered; we rejoice in our own unrighteousness, we do not endure all things. We often think as a child, reason as a child and continue in childish ways. We are selfish, self-centered and stubborn, often wallowing in self-pity. Not a pretty sight!
How are we still alive and not crushed in the hands of an angry God! Praise God for His mercy. But let us not think that His mercy is an excuse to sin, may it never be! His mercy holds us in His favor until we can learn, change and start having the fruit of the Spirit manifest instead of our broken nature.
Check your actions and reactions. Do they measure up to the standard of action and reaction that the Lord requires? Meditate on these things. Let’s not be boastful and challenging each other. But let the fruit of the Spirit reign supreme. There is no law of man or God that is against love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Let’s strive harder to have these as the basis of our behavior and help each other as we struggle to meet the measure of God. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
How many of our children can name 10 rules of soccer, basketball, baseball, etc., but cannot name all of the 10 Commandments? How many of our children can name 12 movie stars or sports figures in as many seconds but would have to ponder for hours naming the 12 Apostles? Naming the commandments and the apostles is not the point here, folks, but I think you get the point!
Have we really brought up our children in the ways of the Lord? Have we taught them the great, life-altering accounts of the Bible, both formally by study in the home and informally in our interactions with them? If they were talking about your strongest characteristic, would it be that you love God with all your heart? Have your children seen you go to the Lord with all of your requests and wait on Him for the answers? Do your children see you repent and ask forgiveness when you are wrong? Do you counsel your children in gentleness and love or with a strong, overbearing spirit that only crushes theirs? Do your children see you seriously studying the Bible, and see your eager participation in church and its ministries? Do your children see you tithing and looking for opportunities to give and assist those in your area? Have you gone over the lists of the deeds of the flesh vs. the fruit of the Spirit with your children, with an eye to guiding them around the pitfalls of life? Have you discussed sexual purity and chastity with your children and God’s reasons for it? Have you used the Scriptures as the basis for your decisions? Have you prayed with your children daily? Have you taught them daily scripture review and study? Have you taught them to participate in church and volunteer regularly? Have you shown your boys what it says in the Scripture that God requires of a man, husband, father and worker? Have you shown your girls what it says in the Scriptures that God requires of a woman, wife, mother and worker?
So many questions…so many answers! I hope you have told your children that they have a free gift from God…eternal life…that is theirs for the sincere asking. Ponder these questions in the presence of God, and may you do well on your journey. His gracious help is there in all that He requires of you. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
In the Psalms, the Lord has said that children are a gift and like arrows in a man’s quiver. These arrows need to be “sharpened” in and by the wisdom of God. The following are some comments I heard years ago and they still hold true today:
Begin early – a twig shapes much easier than a big branch!
Be creative – at all times and in all ways. Search the Scriptures for help and search Christian materials for good and godly suggestions…a ton of stuff is online at the various ministries…and for free!
Work to build character – many people concentrate on sports, travel, money, grades, etc. (all good) but, instead, concentrate more on complimenting for character traits and morally-sound decisions.
Learn to set some limits – God put limits on Adam and Eve…are we any different? Strangely, oftentimes, to a child, no limit being set on them is seen as rejection, as someone not caring. When you set limits, they will complain and buck against them…expect it! But don’t stop setting the limits for them. Remember, if you don’t conquer them…someone else will!
Assign responsibility – find out what they can do, give them work and responsibilities, and require them to complete the job. Don’t re-do the job to your satisfaction, but rather have your child re-do the job in a more satisfactory manner.
Have your home filled with laughter – let it be a place they want to bring their friends. If your home is always a somber concentration camp or a bitter battleground, don’t expect them to enjoy it.
Let the children see God at work in your family – by your worship, your giving, your kindness, your patience, your forgiveness…you get the picture. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!