You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes.
Jas 4:14 NET
Up, up, my soul, the long-spent time redeeming;
Sow thou the seeds of better deeds and thought;
Light other lamps while yet thy lamp is beaming—
The time is short.
Think of the good thou might’st have done when brightly
The suns to thee life’s choicest season brought;
Hours lost to God in pleasure passing lightly—
The time is short.
If thou hast friends, give them thy best endeavor,
Thy warmest impulse, and thy purest thought,
Keeping in mind and words and action ever—
The time is short.
– Elizabeth Prentiss
Loving Father, help me to realize that I am not living in the right way nor the right place if I am discontented, or happy in trifles and untruth. Help me to find my place, and with thy help may I stand firm and confident. Amen.
I’m an ordinary person. Sometimes I’m selfish and unkind. Sometimes I want to put myself first. When I work, I want to succeed, and my entire focus will be on my work at that time. I don’t always want to give. My heart isn’t always pure. I’m an ordinary person. And my heart is ordinary.
God isn’t disappointed in me, because of this. God looks at me fondly. He looks at me with love and kindness. He isn’t disappointed in me, wishing my heart were purer, wishing I was kinder and more selfless. God loves and accepts me as I am.
I’ve lately thought of God as a best friend, not just a loving parent. If you imagine a best friend, they sympathize with what you’re going through. They won’t say: “You should be more selfless. You should think about that differently. You’re not good enough.”
If your best friend spoke to you that way, you wouldn’t want to be around them anymore, because they wouldn’t be offering love and support. God isn’t like this. He sits with us, and, like a true friend, completely understands our heart and soul. He understands when we’re hurt and frustrated. He understands our desire to be selfish sometimes. He understands, and doesn’t judge us.
God loves us, completely. When we realize God is completely loving, accepting and kind — when we realize he loves us, as we are — we feel so much closer to him. When we feel closer to him, we naturally want to do things to make him happy. Becoming a kinder, more giving person doesn’t come from guilt, or being told we should be different. Becoming kinder comes from our heart. Comes from our heart, when it’s filled with love. God’s love.
Don’t ever feel God’s standing over you, wishing you would become more selfless and behave differently. God loves and accepts you as you are. He sees everything we’re going through — every single detail — and is completely understanding and sympathetic. Even if we’re going through dark things. Even if we’ve done dark things. God will never walk away from us. He never would, and never will.
God loves us, as we are. He understands. He forgives every bad thing we’ve ever done. He’ll never leave us. He loves us.
~ Mona Hanna ~
“A living dog is better than a dead lion.”
Life is a precious thing, and in its humblest form it is superior to death. This truth is eminently certain in spiritual things. It is better to be the least in the kingdom of heaven than the greatest out of it. The lowest degree of grace is superior to the noblest development of unregenerate nature. Where the Holy Ghost implants divine life in the soul, there is a precious deposit which none of the refinements of education can equal. The thief on the cross excels Caesar on his throne; Lazarus among the dogs is better than Cicero among the senators; and the most unlettered Christian is in the sight of God superior to Plato. Life is the badge of nobility in the realm of spiritual things, and men without it are only coarser or finer specimens of the same lifeless material, needing to be quickened, for they are dead in trespasses and sins.
A living, loving, gospel sermon, however unlearned in matter and uncouth in style, is better than the finest discourse devoid of unction and power. A living dog keeps better watch than a dead lion, and is of more service to his master; and so the poorest spiritual preacher is infinitely to be preferred to the exquisite orator who has no wisdom but that of words, no energy but that of sound. The like holds good of our prayers and other religious exercises; if we are quickened in them by the Holy Spirit, they are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, though we may think them to be worthless things; while our grand performances in which our hearts were absent, like dead lions, are mere carrion in the sight of the living God. O for living groans, living sighs, living despondencies, rather than lifeless songs and dead calms. Better anything than death. The snarlings of the dog of hell will at least keep us awake, but dead faith and dead profession, what greater curses can a man have? Quicken us, quicken us, O Lord!
~ Charles Spurgeon ~
Make me understand your ways, O Lord! Teach me your paths!
Ps 25:4 NET
Moses said to the Lord,… “If I have found favor in your sight, show me your way, that I may know you,…” And the Lord said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”—The Lord revealed his faithful acts to Moses, his deeds to the Israelites.
May he show the humble what is right! May he teach the humble his way!… The Lord shows his faithful followers the way they should live.—Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.
You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight.—I will instruct and teach you about how you should live. I will advise you as I look you in the eye.—The path of the righteous is like the bright morning light, growing brighter and brighter until full day.
Exod 33:12-14, Ps 103:7, Ps 25:9, Ps 25:12, Prov 3:5-6, Ps 16:11, Ps 32:8, Prov 4:18
THE FAMILY OF GOD
I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.
There is an important message for the believing family of God in the Bible: Next to God Himself we need each other most!
God’s ideal is a fellowship of faith, a Christian community. He never intended that salvation should be received and enjoyed by the individual apart from the larger company of believers. With that, it also needs to be said that to live within the religious family does not mean that we must approve everything that is done there.
But God has so created us that we need each other. We may and should go into our closet and pray in secret, but when the prayer is ended we should go back to our people. That is where we belong.
No one is wise enough to live alone, nor good enough nor strong enough. From our brethren we can learn how to do things and sometimes also we can learn how not to do them!
Our Lord who is the Great Shepherd has said that we are the sheep of His pasture and it is in our nature to live with the flock. Best of all, the Shepherd always stays with His flock!
Lord, I pray that the fellowship in our local churches will be strong and pure. Draw us together in unity, that we may truly honor Your name throughout our community.
~ Aiden Wilson Tozer ~