John 9:4 “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
We can sense the urgency in the words of Christ. The mindset of most today is “why do today what we can put off till tomorrow?” This is not the agenda of Christ nor should it be the agenda of His followers. We must realize that is coming a time when we will not be able to work. The Lord seems to be emphasizing the importance of ceasing our moments. We must remember to work while we still have some daylight left. Keep in mind that we must work the works of God that sends us rather than the works of man that defiles us.
- Don’t get tied up in an unnecessary agenda: There are some activities we do that simply unnecessary. Don’t let the unnecessary keep you from fulfilling that which necessary.
- Realize the important things last for an eternity: If you are investing in something that will not even last a lifetime then you are wasting time. By the way, time is something we cannot get back.
- Once you are dead, it is done and you can’t do anything about it: This sounds real simple, but it something that people rarely realize. Please understand that I realize the Christian will rejoice and live forever in Heaven. However; the only influence they will have on this earth will life they lived while on this earth. Pay attention to how you invest your life because you only get one life…..Don’t waste it!
Today’s Challenge: Concentrate your attention on the things that really matter:
John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”
We get an understanding of why Christ is such an offense to the world. In modern American Culture those that align to the Bible and believe Christ is truly “the way, the truth, and the life” are looked upon as bigots as well as speakers of hate. I find it ironic that the message of the Gospel through believing on Jesus Christ is a message of love, hope, peace and joy. It is far from hate and bigotry. It is amazing how the world can’t stand it when someone’s beliefs and actions reveal their wickedness. I want to look at some reasons as to why the world hates Christ and His message.
- The Holiness of Christ exposes the wickedness of people. People do not like to be shown up or made to look bad. When any one lines up next to Christ they find out that they don’t look as good as what they once perceived. To the non-Christian it would be better to hate this person rather than accept this person.
- The Message of Christ eliminates the philosophies of people. Humanity can’t stand it when they can’t mix their ways in with God ways. The message of Christ teaches that man can do nothing and has nothing to offer for his/her own salvation. It all lies on the work of Christ. This makes people mad because they think themselves to be “good enough” to offer something.
- The Gospel of Christ extracts the religions of people. People don’t like it when being sincere just does not get the job done. Humanity says that it does not matter what you believe when the Gospel of Christ teaches us the exact opposite. Christianity does not promote a religion. Christianity presents a relationship. Religion will send a person to Hell while a relationship with Christ will allow us to spend an eternity in Heaven. People want to believe what they want and when that is presented as false they hate it rather than accepting it.
Today’s Challenge: Don’t get upset when the world rejects what you present them. Those that align to Christ and His teachings will be rejected and ridiculed!
John 6:66 “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
When the truth is spoken it is not always received. Reality hurts and therefore can drive others away. Jesus spent several verses teaching on the relationship between himself and God the Father. The principles He taught were usual and very direct. We live in a society that desires “feel good” messages and from the way things appear, it was no different the Lord’s time. It is important to look at some principles that will keep you from walking away when you hear someone tell you the truth.
- Realize that the Truths of Scripture are rarely popular. You have to accept the fact that if you adhere to Biblical principles it will be unacceptable to the world.
- Don’t walk away when your feelings get hurt. Too many people feel as though the preacher is picking on just them when he is preaching. If God steps on your toes, be willing to accept the scolding from God. I promise the preacher is not trying to straighten you out.
- Accept the truth as though it was intended for you. I know people say they are not perfect, but their reactions speak differently. The Truth of God was made to set you free.
- Decide that you are willing to adjust and adhere to God’s instructions. Rather than give up and walk away, decide that God is giving you an instruction that will draw you closer to Him.
- Never wear your feelings on your sleeve. The truth will hurt your feelings. Remember that God wants to break you down before He builds you back up.
Today’s Challenge: Determine today that you will follow Jesus regardless of what you are told. NO TURNING BACK!
John 4:34 “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
Jesus was not hungry for fame, fortune, or social standing. He was hungry for the will of God. It would do us good to follow suit. Take a few moments and allow the Lord to examine our hearts. We may discover that God’s will is the farthest thing that brings us satisfaction. We draw satisfaction from the most worldly of goods. Yet only to find that groceries deplete, money is never a constant and materials don’t last. We must change our focus as well as our direction. The same thing that brought fulfillment to our Lord, must be the same thing that brings fulfillment to us.
- Our Food Must be the Will of God: God does not hide His will, but we must develop a hunger for it. The hunger for God’s will, will allow us an opportunity to be fulfilled when we find God’s will.
- Our Focus Must be the Work of God: Some might say that they are not called to full-time ministry. That mentality is a shallow existence. God may not employ you through the local Church, but if you are truly a Christian then your focus must be on the Work of God. God gave you a job so that you can fulfill His work. Realize that your work place is not a job, but a mission field. The place you work is not a career, but it is your God given ministry!
Today’s Challenge: Don’t let the material possessions of this world cause you spiritual starvation. Focus on the things that last for eternity.
John 3:35 “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things unto his hand.”
Here lies the key to the Father’s heart. God’s heart is won through His Son, Jesus Christ. We miss an important part of the Gospel message when we fail to look at the love God possesses toward His Son. Just ponder the Bible for a moment. Everything that is accomplished must be accomplished through His Son.
- Salvation is accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ: Just looking at the verse following John 3:35 we see “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” The Bible is clear that the only way a person can be Saved is by placing their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. God loved Jesus so much that no other way would be allowed and that His wrath would fall upon those that chose another path other than the Son.
- Service is awarding through His Son, Jesus Christ: The only way we will be awarded for our service is if it was done with Christ Jesus in mind. Our awards will come only through Christ. The Bible talks about the works of the flesh and the works of the Spirit. God is not pleased when we operate without His Son because He loves His Son. The life we live must be totally and completely surrendered to God through Christ. Even the aspect of prayer is impossible without going through the name of Jesus Christ.
- Success is achieved through His Son, Jesus Christ: Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Without Christ we can do nothing, and through Christ we can do everything. Success is never through a self-centered, self-promoted life. God’s way of success will always be through Jesus Christ!
Today’s Challenge: Focus on Christ. Through Christ we will discover the heartbeat of the Father. Love Christ with everything and it will automatically place us in the will of God!
John 1:3 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
We often times overlook verses such as these. God is the creator of all things, and without God nothing was created. God is all and in all things. We need to realize that without God we are truly worthless. We are so swift to operate outside of the One that created us. God values humanity above all other parts of His creation and yet we are so vile and disobedient. This verse should encourage us to lean upon the Lord for strength. We must consider Him in everything we do. This must remind us that without Christ we are nothing. Our hearts should rejoice in the fact that no thing exist without God.
- Without God Life would not Exist: God is the giver of life and without God’s presense we offically operate without life.
- Without God Love would not Exist: The reason so many so called love relationships fail is because they lack God and therefore they lack love. We must realize that we can have one without the other.
- Without God Light would not Exist: John describes God as the true Light. The darkness of those that walk without God is saddening. Without the presence of God they will operate in darkness.
It does not take long to realize that life without God would be miserable. Well, it just simply would not exist. Those that try to operate without God must expect very little because limited strength, limited ability, and limited hope is all they will ever get. Failures occur when God does not author the action.
Today’s Challenge: Don’t operate without God. It will not work!
Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
This is a very important principle to apply when seeking wisdom. We have all made the statement: “I wish I would have listened to them.” However; I can honestly say that I have made the following statement: “I am glad I didn’t listen to them.” Receiving wisdom from the right people is imperative to making the right decisions. Getting counsel from a multitude of counselors can be confusing because, many times, you don’t get the same advice from the people you ask. This creates a major problem for people because they value the opinions and wisdom from the people they are asking. Recently I began to think about some ways to “weed through” the advice you receive.
- Always start with God. The Bible says “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…” (James 1:5). It amazes me how swift people are to seek the advice of a complete stranger before they seek God’s advice. Prayer and searching the Scriptures can be a long and tedious process, but the cost is of eternal value. Rather than turn to our fellow man, we must turn the one that gives wisdom. Don’t ask advice from any person before you have began to ask advice from the Lord.
- Avoid advice from those that will tell you only what you want to here. The greatest friends are the ones that tell you the truth regardless of whether you want to hear it or not.
- Advice that does not align with the Bible is never good advice. The Bible should always be our litmus test. If you accept the advice from someone that does not align to Biblical Principles then you will get the same results. Spiritual advice from Spiritual people will equal Spiritual results. Dangerous advice from ungodly people will create some disastrous results.
- Accept advice from those that don’t have selfish intentions. Many times the advice you are given is only to fit the mold of the person giving it. Make sure the advice you are receiving is in your best interest. There are dangerous people out there that want to give you advice that can manipulate you into doing what they think is right. Avoid selfish people and seek after selfless people.
- Acknowledge advice from those that have both failed and succeeded. Those that have failed can tell you what not to do, and those that have succeeded can tell you their recipe for success . When they both agree together, it will then create advice that is more valuable than gold.
A good rule of thumb is that get your own idea about the direction you want to go. Make sure it aligns with the leading of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and the situations you are encountering. Walking into any counseling session with no direction can definitely lead you in the wrong direction.
Luke 24:5 “And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?”
There was a group of people that desired to tend to the body of Jesus. Coming to the tomb they found an astonishing sight. It was empty. While looking around the tomb they were confronted by two men “in shining garments”. The question these men asked is a question that must still be asked today: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Today’s society as well as many Christians are doing the same today. They are looking for something that is living in the graveyards of life. The problem was not the who, but the where. They were looking for the right person, but they were looking in the wrong place. Today is no different. We see people looking for the hope that is found in Jesus Christ but they are looking in all the wrong places. Jesus is not down, but he is up! Lets examine some graveyards that lead people away from Christ rather than toward Christ.
- The Graveyard of Religion: The Book of James talks about pure religion. However; pure religion does not come with a Church experience, a religious routine, or becoming a part of some spiritual social club. Pure religion comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Quit look around and start look up.
- The Graveyard of Relationships: I have watched this over the past few years become a major problem. Especially among our younger generation. Trying to build a relationship with another person without having a relationship with Christ leads to emptiness and heartache. We must shake our desire for acceptance among the world and concentrate our desire in an upward direction. Relationships here on this earth will fade one way or the other, but our relationship with Christ is for eternity. Quit looking among the world and start looking up toward Heaven.
- The Graveyard of Rituals: Traditions and customs have absolutely excluded Christ from the worship experience. We get so caught up in what they did in the past that we forget to look at what God is doing today. Times change, people change, and cultures change but God stays the same. Don’t allow the customs of religious routines, and rituals keep you from experiencing a life of abundance in Christ.
Today’s Challenge: Examine where you are looking today. Decide whether or not you are looking for fulfillment among living things or eternal things. Remember that the things of this earth will soon pass away. The answer to the question is simple: “He is not here for He is risen!” LOOK UP!
Luke 22:54 “Then too they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.”
This is what provoked Peter’s denial of Christ. It is common among Christians to get in pressure situations and start regressing rather than progressing. Following Christ from a distance is a dangerous way to follow the Lord. Lets take a look at why following from a distance is such a dangerous lifestyle.
- It Disfigures our Sight – From a distance things seem smaller. From a distance Christ seemed smaller. The smaller the view we have of Christ the greater amount of fear we possess.
- Denying Spirit – Following from a distance is another way of saying we are straddling the fence. If we are a long distance from something then it gives us the choice to adhere to or deny the one we are following. This is why the pressure got to Peter. He thought he was far enough away that he was not associated with Christ. Being lukewarm is comes from a person that has decided to follow Christ from a distance.
- Distressed Situation: We find Peter later on in the text going out and weeping bitterly. Sin will do just that! Though Peter was comfortable for a brief period, we see a man that was broken over his situation. Following Christ may cost us something, but the price is far greater if we decide to live comfortable Christian lives.
Many so called “Christians” today find themselves doing the same thing. Following Christ from a Distance. God said that if we would draw nigh to Him then He would draw nigh unto us.
Today’s Challenge: Get closer to Christ!