A Squirt-Filled Reminder

germWhen I get out of my bed of a morning, I follow the well-worn path to my coffee pot; however, there is something I do before I make my coffee. I squirt soap in my hands and wash them.

As I was repeating this routine this morning, I thought of James 4:8: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

It’s just as important to be pure spiritually as it is to be clean physically.  This is a vital key to nurturing a relationship with God, so I’ve decided to use soap dispensers as a reminder.  Each squirt of soap will remind me to:

  • Draw closer to God
  • Cleanse my hands
  • Purify my heart
  • Focus on my relationship with God

Why not join me in this endeavor?

Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other. ~The Voice

Is That With an “E” or an “I?”

vowels-of-leadershipThe question of the title is a focus on the difference between complement and compliment.  Even though the difference between the spellings of the two words is nothing more than a single vowel, there is a significant difference in their meaning:

  • A complement completes, enhances, or perfects.
  • A compliment is the expression of praise, admiration, or in some cases it is used in regard to a free gift.

Both words offer an appropriate expression of your relationship with Jesus:

  • Because salvation is a free gift to you from God, Jesus is a compliment: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).”
  • Salvation is also the complement through which He completes, enhances, and perfects you: “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Colossians 2:9-10).”

As you start your week, I encourage you do so with a spirit of thanksgiving for the manner in which God has complimented you and continues to complement you.

It’s Good!

il_340x270.582953616_9yvjSome of the books of the Bible have certain words or phrases that are frequently repeated.  While reading the Psalms, I began to notice how often the word “good” appears.   In the NKJV translation, it is mentioned 80 times.

I have selected five of these that speak of “good” in the context of your relationship with God:

  • Psalm 54:6: I will offer a sacrifice as a special gift to you. I will thank you, Lord, because you are good.
  • Psalm 69:16: Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
  • Psalm 73:28: As for me, to draw near to God is good; I have put my hope in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
  • Psalm 92:1-2: It is good to praise you, Lord, to sing praises to God Most High. It is good to tell of your love in the morning and of your loyalty at night.

Some Scripture is so full of meaning, so rich in content, and so easily understood that it needs no commentary.   This is the case with the verses above, so I will close with this quote from the Psalms:

“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations . . . Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever (Ps. 100:5; 136:1).”

A Future and A Hope

When you were a child you probably played the game of hide and seek.  As an adult, you may have tried to play some version of that game with God.

Seeking, is an important aspect of your relationship with God:

  • “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near (Isaiah 55:7).”
  • “I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me (Proverbs 8:17).”

When you seek God, you will never be disappointed.  In fact, God has extended several invitations for you to join Him in your spiritual journey:

  • An invitation to rest: Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).”
  • An invitation to serve: “Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men (Mark 1:17).”
  • An invitation to come into His presence: “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17).”

I can understand why a person would seek God, but I cannot fathom why anyone would want to hide from Him.  Jeremiah said we have a future and hope in Him: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:11-13).”

Formidable Phobias

To some people, just the mention of “fear” can be a scary subject.  I know some people who fear every formidable phobia known to man.

In the times I’ve paused to give some thoughts to the subject of fear, a couple of questions come to my mind:  If you are not fear-full is it because you fear-less, and if you fear-less is it because you are faith-full?

Both David and Isaiah believed that a right relationship with God is a sure remedy for fear:

  • “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise. In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid (Psalm 56:3-4).”
  • Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; and, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

When you focus on the things that are right, your fears are left.  When you put your fears behind you, you can focus on what’s before you—the process and the goal that will move you forward.

You learned a lesson a long time ago that you may forgotten:  No one learns to walk without falling.  What did you do when fell?  You got up; you stumbled around; and, eventually your coordination improved, and you walked.  You did not let your fear of falling doom you to a life of crawling.

Whatever failure you have experienced and whatever fear you may be facing, get up and go again.  Trust in God: He will give you the strength and help you need.

Paul: Judaism to Jesus

church-of-christA person’s concept of Christ often undergoes a dramatic change from the first time he thinks about Him to the time he trusts Him as Savior.  This was the case with the Apostle Paul.  He started his life as Saul of Tarsus and sought out Christians with a raging hatred similar to that of mad dog infected with rabies. When Saul first heard of the “hope of the resurrection,” it sounded like empty rhetoric and a powerless promise.  After he encountered Jesus on the Damascus road, he experienced the transforming power of Christ’s salvation and his name was changed to Paul.

By developing a dynamic relationship with God, Paul came to know Him in several dimensions.  When he wrote to the Hebrews, Paul said God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”   Paul also spoke of this in 2 Timothy 4:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.

To know God as a rewarder, you must first know Him as a redrawer.  Paul had been the rising star of Judaism, but he walked away from the Law to a life of grace:

As far as keeping the Law is concerned I was a Pharisee, and you can judge my enthusiasm for the Jewish faith by my active persecution of the Church. As far as the Law’s righteousness is concerned, I don’t think anyone could have found fault with me. Yet every advantage that I had gained I considered lost for Christ’s sake . . . I considered it useless rubbish compared with being able to win Christ. God has given me that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ. How changed are my ambitions!

For whom have you livedDevil or Jesus?  You will be known for either the good way you live or evil will define you.

When you meet the Gateman will you be wearing his nametag?    If so, you just might hear Him say: “You have fought the good fight; you have finished the race; and you have kept the faith.”

 

Note:  I enjoy playing with the English language.  Go back and find the single words I have italicized in a couple of sentences.  Forwards and backwards, what do you see?

Clueless or Less Clues

cloudPeople speak about “not having a clue” and “being clueless,” and they often have no idea about the origin of the word “clue.”

A quick look at Greek mythology will clue you in to the meaning of the word. When Theseus entered the Labyrinth to kill the, half-man, half-bull, Minotaur he unraveled a ball of string behind him, so he could find his way back. This ball of string was called a “clew.”

Sometime around the mid-1500s the spelling of “clew” was changed to clue and was used in reference to a fact or idea that could help solve a riddle, a task, or a problem

Since I don’t want you to be clueless about your relationship with Jesus let me share a clue or two with you:
• John 13:34-35 says that when we love as Jesus loved we are identified with Him.
• Find your way to John 14:6 and you will discover the clue to finding God.
• Read Matthew 7:7-8 and you will see the clue to prayer is in the acronym A.S.K.
• If you have a hunger that cannot be satisfied, the secret to a fulfilling diet is found in John 6:35.

Ravi Zacharias believes “true worship” is a clue to your relationship with God: “Man is by nature a religious entity. He finds objects or persons to worship and will ultimately reflect that object. It is for this reason that authentic worship is pivotal for the Christian’s life. True worship pulls together my conscience, heart, mind, imagination, and will. When these coalesce in unified expression, life finds its meaning.”

When your life is examined by your family and friends, and it will be, do they see a clue that points to Jesus, or do you leave them clueless? Alister McGrath has said that “Within each of us exists the image of God, however disfigured and corrupted by sin it may presently be. God is able to recover this image through grace as we are conformed to Christ.”

“the image of God in us”—a remarkable clue to everything I just said.

A Five-Five Relationship

3-9-12-CMI-hands_of_god_and_adam-400-300x250One of my favorite sections of Scripture is Romans 5:1-5, and I read it again this morning. I call it the 5-5, and I share it with you below:

“Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

In these brief verses, we find a long list of truths that provide the secret of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ:
• You are justified and declared righteous before God when you accept His son as your Savior.
• The initial result of your salvation is that you now have peace with God.
• As a child of God you have around-the-clock access to God—24/7.
• You can gain a better understanding of your affliction because hard times increase your endurance; the new found endurance builds character; and, Christ-like character produces hope.
• The hope within you is based on the love of God which has been “poured out” into your heart, and it is always available because the Holy Spirit now resides within you.

There is a reason I like to think of this section of Scripture as the 5-5. The 5-5 is a mnemonic that I use to help remind me of the relationship I have with God. SpeedLimitReduction55MPH Whenever I see a 55 MPH speed limit sign on the highway it reminds me of this Scripture and the peace I have with God through Jesus Christ.