Let Me teach you thankfulness. Begin by acknowledging that everything—all your possessions and all that you are—belongs to Me. The dawning of each new day is a gift from Me, not to be taken for granted. The earth is vibrantly alive with My blessings, giving vivid testimony to My Presence. If you slow down your pace of life, you can find Me anywhere.
Some of My most precious children have been laid aside in sick beds or shut away in prisons. Others have voluntarily learned the discipline of spending time alone with Me. The secret of being thankful is learning to see everything from My perspective. My world is your classroom. My Word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
~ Sarah Young ~
Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
– Matthew 5:42
Secular people also hold tightly to the concept that property rights are sacred. But such self-centered possessiveness is merely another symptom of humanity’s sinfulness. Even believers forget that whatever they have belongs to God and that they are simply stewards of their wealth.
We do have certain legal rights in most countries to manage property as we wish. But we must be willing to sacrifice those rights on the altar of Christian obedience and submission (cf. Rom. 12:1–2). Whenever someone wants to borrow something of ours, we ought to willingly allow him or her to do so. That person might well have a genuine need, which only we can meet.
The Lord implies here that His disciples should offer to give as soon as they sense a need, not waiting to be asked. And He is not referring to our grudgingly donating, but to generous giving that springs from a loving desire to help. Our attitude should be far more than a token charity that merely wants to salve an uneasy conscience.
Christ’s words do not intend to undercut civil justice, but to destroy human selfishness, which is sin and does not belong in the hearts of true Christians. In truth, the only persons who do not selfishly or vengefully cling to their property rights are those who have died to self (cf. Gal. 2:20). The faithful believer lives for Christ and if necessary surrenders all his or her rights and dies for Him (Rom. 14:8).
Again, since we cannot give away everything we have, how do we deal with the requirement of adhering to this Christian command while also using sound judgment, being good stewards of our God-given resources?
~ John MacArthur ~
I will get up and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
– Luke 15:18 NET
O my God, my Father! hear,
And help me to believe;
Weak and weary I draw near;
Thy child, O God, receive.
I so oft have gone astray;
To the perfect Guide I flee;
Thou wilt turn me not away,
Thy love is pledged to me.
—HYMNS OF THE SPIRIT.
O child, hast thou fallen? arise, and go, with childlike trust, to thy Father, like the prodigal son, and humbly say, with heart and mouth, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee, and am no more worthy to be called Thy son; make me as one of Thy hired servants.” And what will thy heavenly Father do but what that father did in the parable? Assuredly He will not change His essence, which is love, for the sake of thy misdoings. Is it not His own precious treasure, and a small thing with Him to forgive thee thy trespasses, if thou believe in Him? for His hand is not shortened that it cannot make thee fit to be saved.
THE WITNESS OF CONSCIENCE
“They shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them.”
— Rom 2:15 (R.V.).
CONSCIENCE HOLDS the mirror to the inner life, and shows us just what we are in the light of God's infinite purity and righteousness. The word is derived from the Latin con, with; scio, I know. Conscience is what a man knows with or against himself.
Sometimes we can meet ourselves with a smile; this is what we term a good conscience; at other times we do not like to meet ourselves, but feel ashamed—we cannot deceive ourselves, or hoodwink conscience. We know, and we know that we know, that this is right and that wrong; this is good, and that evil. Conscience is an ill bed-fellow, says the old proverb, and when we are troubled with evil dreams, turning, tossing, starting up in fear, rest becomes impossible. It is very necessary to keep on good terms with your conscience, and we do not wonder that the Apostle made it his aim to preserve a conscience void of offence towards God and man (Act 24:16).
All men have a conscience, else God could not judge them; there would be no standard by which to try or convict, but in most cases conscience is uninstructed. It judges rightly, so far as it knows, but its knowledge is scant, and its power of making accurate distinctions is limited. The Christian conscience is illumined and instructed by the light that falls on it from the face of Christ. See to it that your conscience is constantly corrected by Christ's standard. Never tamper with conscience, nor gag her protestations, nor drown her voice. Never say it does not matter for once in a way. Never dare to let her voice wear itself out. To behave thus is to tamper with the most delicate moral machinery in the universe. Let us see that our hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience in the blood of Jesus, so that we may draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith (Heb 10:19-23).
O Lord, give me Thy Holy Spirit in greater measure, that His saving presence may cleanse my conscience, and His holy inspiration enlighten my heart. AMEN.
~ F.B. Meyer ~
“You were taught . . . to put off the old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires to be made new in the attitudes of your mind.”
Father God, today, without even realizing it, I could abandon the mindset of Christ to take on what fits me best in that moment. My attitude could be one of “me first”. That is not showing the mind of Christ, so please move me away from such deceitful thoughts. Amen
A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His Presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality.
I have just now used two words which demand definition; or if definition is impossible, I must at least make clear what I mean when I use them. They are “reckon” and “reality.”
What do I mean by reality? I mean that which has existence apart from any idea any mind may have of it, and which would exist if there were no mind anywhere to entertain a thought of it. That which is real has being in itself. It does not depend upon the observer for its validity.
I am aware that there are those who love to poke fun at the plain man's idea of reality. They are the idealists who spin endless proofs that nothing is real outside of the mind. They are the relativists who like to show that there are no fixed points in the universe from which we can measure anything. They smile down upon us from their lofty intellectual peaks and settle us to their own satisfaction by fastening upon us the reproachful term “absolutist.” I am aware that there are those who love to poke fun at the plain man's idea of reality. They are the idealists who spin endless proofs that nothing is real outside of the mind. They are the relativists who like to show that there are no fixed points in the universe from which we can measure anything. They smile down upon us from their lofty intellectual peaks and settle us to their own satisfaction by fastening upon us the reproachful term “absolutist.” The Christian is not put out of countenance by this show of contempt. He can smile right back at them, for he knows that there is only One who is Absolute, that is God. But he knows also that the Absolute One has made this world for man's uses, and, while there is nothing fixed or real in the last meaning of the words (the meaning as applied to God) for every purpose of human life we are permitted to act as if there were. And every man does act thus except the mentally sick. These unfortunates also have trouble with reality, but they are consistent; they insist upon living in accordance with their ideas of things. They are honest, and it is their very honesty that constitutes them a social problem.
~ Aiden Wilson Tozer; The Pursuit of God ~
“All the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.” — Eze 3:7
Are there no exceptions? No, not one. Even the favoured race are thus described. Are the best so bad?-then what must the worst be? Come, my heart, consider how far thou hast a share in this universal accusation, and while considering, be ready to take shame unto thyself wherein thou mayst have been guilty. The first charge is impudence, or hardness of forehead, a want of holy shame, an unhallowed boldness in evil. Before my conversion, I could sin and feel no compunction, hear of my guilt and yet remain unhumbled, and even confess my iniquity and manifest no inward humiliation on account of it. For a sinner to go to God's house and pretend to pray to him and praise him argues a brazen-facedness of the worst kind! Alas! since the day of my new birth I have doubted my Lord to his face, murmured unblushingly in his presence, worshipped before him in a slovenly manner, and sinned without bewailing myself concerning it. If my forehead were not as an adamant, harder than flint, I should have far more holy fear, and a far deeper contrition of spirit. Woe is me, I am one of the impudent house of Israel. The second charge is hardheartedness, and I must not venture to plead innocent here. Once I had nothing but a heart of stone, and although through grace I now have a new and fleshy heart, much of my former obduracy remains. I am not affected by the death of Jesus as I ought to be; neither am I moved by the ruin of my fellow men, the wickedness of the times, the chastisement of my heavenly Father, and my own failures, as I should be. O that my heart would melt at the recital of my Saviour's sufferings and death. Would to God I were rid of this nether millstone within me, this hateful body of death. Blessed be the name of the Lord, the disease is not incurable, the Saviour's precious blood is the universal solvent, and me, even me, it will effectually soften, till my heart melts as wax before the fire.
~Charles H. Spurgeon ~