Go To Hell!

“Go to Hell!” is an oath hurled in anger. I don’t recall ever hearing those words come from my mouth, but have my actions said as much? Has a judgmental spirit, a harsh unforgiving heart, or a refusal to extend the offer of God’s grace to someone I determine to be unworthy as much as said, “Go to Hell!”?

Jonah, the runaway prophet, finally obeyed God’s call to preach to the Assyrian city of Nineveh. “Forty days until calamity befalls this city,” he cried in the streets. From the slave to the king, an amazing thing happened. They repented! “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10, NIV) Did Jonah rejoice that 120,000 people were spared? Not at all. He sat at the edge of the city and sulked, furious at God for giving these unworthy people grace. “So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” (Jonah 4:2-3, NLT) He wanted justice, not mercy, even though he knew the heart of the LORD God was one of compassion.

Disciple, are you like Jonah in relation to your world? Are you furious with the godless culture, angry at the greed and sensuality, distressed by the selfishness? It is right to be angered by sin! It offends our Lord and should offend us, whether it is our own or that of people around us. However, it is not for us to say, “Go to Hell!” While we are courageous to speak the truth, we do so ‘in love.’ We must love His mercy and not just for ourselves.

Grace is scandalous. If it were deserved, it would not be grace! The Cross is an offense to those who are religious, who think they can please God with their own righteousness, who mock those whose hope is fixed in Christ alone. But those who know grace, who are among the pardoned and restored, think differently. They extend forgiveness, live in love, experience joy, and are filled with peace. Yes, that is the fruit of the grace that allows us to live in the Spirit.

Here’s a word from the Word. I pray it will fill your heart with gratitude for His grace and cause you to be a gracious Christian who says, “Come with me to Heaven!”

“God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.” (Psalm 103:8-12, The Message)

____________

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt!

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss.
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty Cross.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within!
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Grace Greater Than Our Sin

Johnston, Julia H. / Towner, Daniel Brink

You’re Invited! How will you respond?

The envelope announced that I was part of a select group chosen specifically for the enclosed invitation. The sender surely knew how to appeal to pride! The print flourishes and gold trim made it look very official and important. Urgency was implied as the back of the envelope warned me that space was limited and the deadline for reply was fast approaching. Appearances were deceiving! It was just a solicitation to attend an investment presentation. They wanted my money.

God extends us an invitation that is important. He has elected to extend His favor to us, but awaits a response. Just as He once called Abraham, the ‘father of the faithful,’ who responded with obedience, He now calls us to be included ‘in Christ.’ We make a huge mistake if we take His call as a reason for pride, or somehow think that it confers an irrevocable status on us. Take a look at this passage.
“But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. … remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either. Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off.” (Romans 11:17-22, NLT)

The Scripture reminds us that God loved Israel, not because they were somehow desirable or special in themselves. He did so because of His mysterious grace, His sovereign purpose. Yet, in spite of His love for the children of Abraham, when they refused Him and lived in unbelief, they forfeited the blessings that He offered. Ah, disciple, this is both a warning and promise! He has now offered the blessing of acceptance and salvation to us, not because of our heritage, race, or beauty; but because of love. The Word blazes with His love. “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5, NIV) It is an amazing invitation that brings blessings beyond our ability to comprehend. But, if we refuse it with unbelief, the very promise becomes that by which we will be judged!

You opened the invitation, are you responding with faith?
You glimpsed His promise, are you pressing towards knowing Him, so that you may own it fully?

Take this word from the Word and let it inspire you to full faith. “Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God—ruthless with the deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don’t presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you’re out of there.” (Romans 11:22, The Message)

__________________

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name.
Your words are true,
Your mercy does not change.
All Your promises are precious,
Reviving our faith.
Every one of them
Will be fulfilled one day.

We will run,
We’ll run and not grow weary.
We will rise upon the eagle’s wings.
In the presence of the Lord,
Our spirits will soar,
‘Till we one day gaze upon our King.

But my foot had almost slipped,
O Lord, I’d almost lost my way,
‘Til I entered the house of the Lord
And heard Your sweet Spirit say,

Oh, all Your promises
Are “Yes” and “Amen” in Jesus.
Your promises are true.
All Your promises
Are “Yes” and “Amen” Lord Jesus,
We’ll keep running after You.

All Your Promises
Smith, Andrew
© 1995 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Music Services)

CCLI License No. 810055

Are you a star?

“Become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.” (Philippians 2:15-16, NIV) Have you walked under the stars and looked up at them? In the vast expanse of the night sky, they shine. The darker the light, the more beautiful the stars become.

Shine brightly! Disciple, we must for this world is a dark place. I watched a documentary film recently that told the story of children in Cambodia who are sold by their own parents into sex slavery for $10/month! Silent tears slid down my face as I heard young girls tell of the depravity of those who used and abused them, of their hatred of their mothers who gave them up to such a life. My daughter told me of the unspeakable depravity she sees that has ruined the lives of her young clients, many of whom suffered carnal abuse from their fathers. We could each, I am certain, tell our own story of encounters with darkness; experienced through hatred, pride, or total selfishness.

Thank Jesus for being your Light! We who enjoy the blessing of living where we can see clearly, where we have the power to deal with sin and temptation, can never forget where God found us. “You were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” (Ephesians 5:8, NLT)

Do you ever have the sense that the light you shine in your family, your office, or the world around you is not really all that important? Think again. Your life could be the star by which another navigates his way to the Bright and Morning Star. Christ’s kingdom influences the world quietly and persistently, changing one heart at a time. Each of us, though small and not all that significant by ourselves, has a part in the process. We let the light of His holiness, His wholeness, shine through us.

Your world is waiting for you to shine! Here’s the word from the Word again. Take the calling to heart. “Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night.” (Philippians 2:15-16, The Message)

_______________

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine,
Let it shine.

Let it shine ‘til Jesus comes,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine ‘til Jesus comes,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine,
Let it shine.

– Public domain

A Magic Bullet

Do you ever wish for a magic bullet, a one shot solution that solves a problem forever? I do! I’d like to preach one sermon that answers all the needs of the people in the pews, bring one ministry into being that could lead all of the people to a vibrant relationship with the Lord, or find the one tool that would assure that the work I do is always effective. You’re smiling, aren’t you? You’re right. There is no magic bullet!
Meeting life’s challenges requires steady effort, a persistent press against the natural tendency for all things to slide towards decay! Thanks to sin’s entry into Creation, flowers in our garden must be fed and watered. Weeds grow without care. The Word instructs us about this effort: “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT) The Spirit’s counsel is not to look for a magic bullet. Instead, God tells me to stick with the program: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36, NIV) Perseverance. Endurance. These words mean the ability “to persist in spite of opposing force,” and “to stand up under the pressure of adversity or stress.” It may seem that success comes to the ‘lucky’ or the talented. The fact is that success, which God defines as “finishing well,” comes to those who courageously stick with responsibility or relationship even when it hard!

It is important to do a heart check in all this. Stubbornness and conviction are next-door neighbors. The former is born of self, the latter of principle. There is a time to listen to wise counsel that points to the necessity of change. Only a stubborn fool takes pride in his unyielding commitment to a lost cause. A wise person holds onto the will of God, following Him into tomorrow, with his hope founded squarely on faith in the Promise of the Kingdom’s fulfillment.

Want to develop maturity of faith? Endure!
Need to see that teen-age son through the storms? Persevere!
Involved in some service or ministry that is stalled? Steady on!
Struggling to conquer a habit that cripples you? Don’t yield ground!

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” (Hebrews 12:2-3, NLT)

_____________________

When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

When the choices are hard
When we’re battered and scarred
When we’ve spent our resources
When we’ve given our all

In Jesus’ name, we press on
In Jesus’ name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on

Press On
Dan Burgess

Do you smell good?

When I go to Mom Catalano’s house, I know when she’s cooking turnips because to me, they stink! But, that awful smell also means there’s a great roast beef meal in the making. Curious, isn’t it? The smell of cooking turnips, which I hate, announces a feast of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and baked potatoes which I love!

The fragrance some people wear announces their presence before they enter the room. I always knew when my friend, Dean, was in my church before I laid eyes on him, because of the unique cologne he wore. When he died suddenly years ago, I went to his home to pick up clothing for his burial. As his wife opened his closet the familiar fragrance swept over me. Tears flowed! I wanted to see him walk through the door once again, saying “Hello, Pastor!” as he had done so many times before!

The Word says, “… wherever we go He uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing. To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NLT)

What ‘fragrance’ will you leave behind in the rooms you pass through on this day?
Will people ‘smell’ the sweet perfume of the holiness of Jesus on you?

As the Word reminds us, the odor of Christ in our lives will not always be a welcomed fragrance! To those who are in open rebellion, the smell of Christ on us will be a reminder of pending judgment and Hell – a stench of death!

“And who is adequate for such a task as this?”
Paul implies that we can’t splash on a little “Jesus” perfume to cover the stink of persistent and deliberate sin! The fragrance of Christ permeates our lives ONLY WHEN we have spent time with Him, soaking in His Spirit which lets His character be created in us! Sit down and rest in His Presence. Invite Him to be near, yes, to live in you. Then, your inadequacy will be wrapped and covered by His Presence. The ‘fragrance’ that trails you will be the sweet smell of LIFE, both pleasing to God and those who love Him!

_________________

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity.
O my Savior divine, all my nature refine,
‘Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.

Albert Orbson, public domain

Not a nice essay

This is an ugly piece of writing and not because of poor grammar. The subject is painfully ugly. America is sex-berserk! Two stories hit ABC news last night. The first was about another mega-church pastor from Atlanta who has been sued by several young men in his congregation who allege he has them, and many others over the years, as his own sex toys. The second was about a young upper middle class girl from Portland, OR whose daddy left the family for an 18 year old. The girl started looking for a father-figure and a pimp found her, turning her, at age 13, into a prostitute and dancer in strip clubs! That story is sad on so many levels – a father who fails miserably, a man who exploits a little girl’s need for love, and all the men who paid for her. There is seldom a day that our local newspaper does not carry a story about rape or molestation.

One writer says we have become a ‘porn’ culture. Psychiatrist Mary Ann Layden says that “people who never use porn end up bearing its costs. That includes wives, who are held up to impossible sexual standards and are as robbed of sexual intimacy as their addicted husbands are. That also includes teenage girls, who are being taught by the entertainment industry and boyfriends that being a woman is about being hypersexual for others.” (An Equal Opportunity Destroyer -http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/September) We are deceived by a lie that makes our genitals our god. One could reasonably conclude that for millions of us the meaning of life is that ability to experience sexual pleasure without regard for the pain it might bring to our spouse, our kids, our city, or even ourselves!

Sex is a gift of God. He created us with the desire to be sexual. I am not ranting as a prude who wants all sex to go away. Within the confines of a covenanted marital relationship, when a man and a woman offer themselves to each other in a selfless love, sex is a beautiful bond of intimacy. That needs to be celebrated and the Scripture does! No real student of the Bible can argue that God hates sex! “Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.” (Hebrews 13:4, NLT)

As Christians we need to change the conversation in at least two ways starting from that passage’s premise.

First, we need to honor marriage. We need to take seriously the admonition of Scripture to love (including physically!) our spouse, modeling a pure sexuality before our world and our kids!

Second, we must refute the lie that better sex is non-marital sex. When was the last time that you saw a happy, well-adjusted, sexually mature couple portrayed in a film or TV program? Hard to remember, isn’t it?

Repression of sex is not the answer. The drive is too strong to ignore. Instead, the issue needs to be addressed courageously, with maturity, and honesty. We need to speak up and remind the filthy mouthed guy with whom we work that he’s being a little boy about his sexuality. We need to speak to the adulterous person about the great cost of their immorality. We need to put sex back into healthy marriage relationships where it can be what God intended it to be, a part of a whole life of love, instead of making it the main course. And we need to remind people that they can govern their impulses, that they can live whole and beautiful lives without venturing into the ‘porn’ world that our culture has become.

Here’s a word from the Word.

“All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.


All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order.


Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program.


No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.


So, my dear children, don’t let anyone divert you from the truth. It’s the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah.”

(1 John 3:3-7, The Message)

Can these bones live again?

Ezekiel’s famous vision of ‘dry bones’ defines revival for me! The prophet saw a valley full of old, dry bones and at the Lord’s command, preached the Word of the Lord to those bones. Before his eyes they rattled, arranged into skeletons, took on flesh; and the wind of the Spirit blew over them restoring life. What a vision. “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord!” (Ezekiel 37:4, NLT) “So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.” (Ezekiel 37:10, NLT)

Revival is not a series of church meetings that bring a passing surge of emotion or enthusiasm. Revival is not a resurgence of some great moral cause, nor is it the renewal of commitment to a building or program. Revival is not recovering some moment of personal glory or even the restoration of youthful vigor! I would love to see some of those things happen in my life! But, what I truly desire is that dry bones will live again by the Spirit, prepared to go out to this generation to do the work of God in this time, as He purposes it to be done.

Do you desire revival, disciple?
Does your life resemble a valley of dry bones?

Review these promises and see what God will do.
“Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?” (Psalm 85:6, NLT)
“O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years.” (Habakkuk 3:2, KJV)

“For this is what the high and lofty One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15, NIV)

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence.” (Hosea 6:1-2, NLT)

We cannot produce revival!
It is a huge mistake to think that we can make it happen. We can prepare for revival, however. How?

First, we pray. In our prayers we confess our desire and ask the Lord to send the rain that refreshes.

Second, we humble ourselves, acknowledging Who He is – Majesty enthroned – and we are – His children in need.

Third, we turn to Him; “here I am, Lord; all that I am, all that I am not. It is You I desire more than anything or anyone.”

Here’s the word from the Word. May it live in you, the seed from which the promise grows.
“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God:


“Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.


I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ ” (Ezekiel 37:11-14, NKJV)

_____________________

Over-thinking prayer?

The old proverb advises us not to ‘miss the forest for the trees.’ We can miss the main idea if we become obsessed with some detail. We can become anxious and bypass an obvious solution when we focus so tightly that the whole picture goes out of view. Somebody told me that they received a beautiful picture in their email but couldn’t enjoy it because ‘all I could see was the eye!’ They didn’t know how to scale back the view and so only saw a tiny fraction of the photo!

Disciple, our Father in Heaven extends this amazing privilege to us: prayer. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NIV) Another passage tells us to “Come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16, NLT) We don’t have to go to some intermediary. We don’t have to go to some holy place, work up a special state of mind, or wait for a certain day or time. Wherever we are, whatever is on our mind, we can take to the Lord in prayer!

Some Christians rob themselves of this precious privilege by over-thinking prayer! “What do I say? Should I stand or kneel? Must I bow my head or look to Heavens?” They approach prayer like a boy approaches his first kiss; with equal measures of anticipated delight and terror. That boy misses several opportunities to kiss a girl while he’s thinking through the steps he thinks are necessary. Then, one starry night, he forgets himself and before he knows it, their lips have met before he even has time to think about whether their noses will get in the way.

Let’s open our hearts to our Father, coming near to Him in adoration. You need not rally a thousand co-prayers to find an answer. You don’t need to rush off to some meeting or revival preacher’s gathering to touch the heart of your Abba (Daddy) in Heaven. Is your heart full of fear? Tell Him. Is there a joy you want to share? Thank Him. Is there a need weighing on you? Ask Him about it. Don’t over-think it. Just talk with Him with the earnestness of a beloved child, which is exactly who you are in His household.

Here’s a word from the Word. May it inspire greater amounts of expectant prayer in your life. “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.” (James 5:16-18, The Message)

_____________

Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us;
For we need You to help us find our way.
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us;
For we need Your strength from day to day.

There’s no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day.
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us;
For we need You to help us find our way.

Gentle Shepherd
Gaither, William J. / Gaither, Gloria

© 1974 William J. Gaither, Inc. ARR UBP of Gaither Copyright Management

CCLI License No. 810055

Today – will you live in it?

That opening line might seem silly to you, your response being, “What choice do I have?” You could try to relive yesterday’s glories or attempt to erase some ugly blot that stains the record. You lean forward, reaching for tomorrow’s resources or anticipated rewards. Both are sure ways to miss out on today!

Lewis Smedes made a useful analogy about living in the day. “My date book has become a parable … When I get out a new one, I see page after page of blank squares, each representing a day of my life. Each square bounded by four solid lines. My job is to fill up each of the squares with all the things that I do every day. When I get one square nicely filled, at the magic moment of midnight, an invisible door opens and I am silently slurped into the next square where I do it all over again. My life – filling up the squares.” He went on to explain that there is no door to yesterday. It is sealed! The door to tomorrow cannot be kicked open early no matter how frantically we try.

Jesus teaches us to live in the moment. His words are deeply challenging to those of us who are pressed to plan for every contingency, to devise strategies for success. His words are not a condemnation of prudent preparation, but they are a warning about attempting to live outside of the boundaries of this day. He taught us to pray “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11, NIV) and then promises if you “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions … You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:33, The Message) His conclusion is both a challenge and an invitation to peace: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV)

So, leave the sins of your past with Christ Jesus, accepting His forgiveness. Entrust your future to His providence, even as you accept His wisdom for today. Practice being fully present today. Don’t let conversations happen while you are already moving on to the next encounter. Engage, don’t drift! Pray prayers of gratitude and acceptance that allow you to make the most of today’s opportunities. Rich, poor, young, and old – there is one thing we all have in common – today.

Here is a word from the Word. May the wisdom of the Spirit make it a way of life for us. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9-10, NIV)

_____________

Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Give unto each day what He deems best;
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Ev’ry day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure,
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As your days, your strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Day By Day
Berg, Carolina Sandell / Ahnfelt, Oscar / Skoog, Andrew
© Public Domain

Are you worthless?

A nagging thought sometimes forms at the edge of consciousness: “Jerry, are you growing obsolete? Are your ideas and skills of value in a world that re-invents itself every couple of years?” It’s a Self thing, and I repent when I let it take over. Still, I know that I am not unique in that temptation. Feeling undervalued, overlooked, or useless is a problem I hear about often from those with whom I counsel. Young mothers can feel useless when their life becomes consumed with mini-vans, diapers, and runny noses. People who live with chronic illness often feel useless. The aged sometimes feel forgotten. Those who can’t ‘fit in’ at their church, school, or place of work because of social awkwardness often feel rejected and worthless. Those feelings are not just imagined, are they? Ours is a world that is very clear in marking who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out!’

Fact! We don’t have to be young, smart, thin, chic, healthy, or rich, to be useful to our Lord or valuable in this world. Do you think you must lead a group, sing a song, write a poem, or inspire thousands to be valued in the Kingdom of God? It true that some disciples occupy more prominent positions than others. Some remain hidden away even as they are given critically important assignments. Tragically, too often we crave recognition more than calling! In our culture of celebrity, being known is the prize most valued by many, but does a thousand voices yelling our name mean we have true value? Not in God’s economy.

Give Jesus Christ control of your life and invite the Spirit to clean away the dirt of sin and Self. Then, you will be God’s own treasure! The Words says: “In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-22, NLT)

It is important to remember that the Lord equips each of us with spiritual gifts and calls us to serve. His purpose, however, is to build His Kingdom, not to make us famous or to build up our self-esteem. The paradox about being content is this: when we forget ourselves, set aside pride, and serve for His glory; the by-product is fulfillment. If you chase happiness, it will probably always be just out of reach. If you pursue faithfulness to the call of God, satisfaction will find you.

__________________

A vessel of honor for God,
A vessel of honor for God.

Sanctified, wholly, so I might be,
A vessel of honor for God.

Vessel of Honor

© 1981 Garpax Music Press (Admin. by Copyright Management, Inc.)
Denny Duron
CCLI License No. 810055