Saturday, July 14
Some people are known for their work ethic. They are the “movers and shaker.” Thomas Edison was one. He had trouble getting through high school because he was too busy exploring things. Bill Gates would fit that mold, too. But you don’t have to become a household name to be productive. I ran across this awhile back. “The bee that gets the honey doesn’t hang around the hive.” Graphic and accurate! So we talk about being as “busy as a bee.” The Bible has a lot to say about the work ethic—and its counterpart, laziness. Prov. 24:33. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a bandit.” We call such people “couch potatoes.” Riches or poverty is not the core issue; it’s industry and productivity. And it’s not just being busy. You can be busy making sand castles. You could also be a “busy body.” What you’re busy about is what’s important. The bee isn’t just enjoying the scenery. Why do we use the term “bee line?” The bee is ingle-minded and has no interest in “scenic routes.” Jesus at twelve years of age said “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” His attention to his Father’s business started early and consumed every moment if his earthly life. There is no record of Jesus ever having a vacation. Nor did the Apostles. Their lives varied between minor persecution and major persecution. Their work ethic was impressive. So we can emulate the bee and end up with a few combs of honey or we can emulate the Apostles and end up with treasure in heaven.
Friday, July 13
Hebrews 11 reminds me of an old gospel song—“This World is Not My Home.” It depicts the emotional state of those men and women listed in Hebrews 11. I’ll just give you a taste of it.
This world is not my home; I’m just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
I really liked this song when I was a kid, but I didn’t really identify with it. I felt right at home in this world. As I’ve progressed in my walk with the Lord over the years, the song more and more expresses my desire to leave this sordid world behind and go home to be with the Lord. But there is another element here. While God leaves me in this world, I have work to do. The Apostle Paul expresses this in Phil. 1:22-25. “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. . . I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, . . .” Jesus probably experienced this, too. Leaving his disciples as he left this earth must have been like Paul’s experience later on. We all understand the disciples sadness at Jesus’ leaving, but we don’t think much about how Jesus felt. He would miss them, too, and would look forward to welcoming them in heaven. And that is how I feel as I approach my 90th birthday.
Thursday, July 12
When I received Christ as my Redeemer, I renounced my citizenship in this world and became a citizen of heaven. This is no longer my home. I’ve joined that group described in Heb.11. “For he (Abraham) was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. . . . they are looking for a country of their own. . . . they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. . . . [God] has prepared a city for them.” I have yet to see my new country, but I know it’s there and that it is a beautiful country ruled by the King of kings. I already know some of my fellow citizens. Many of them are already there. In the meantime my King has commissioned me to be his representative in this world. The goal is to get a few more people to join us. Some of these world citizens don’t even know that this world is doomed, nor that there is a way of escaping its terrible end. Heaven is a big place. There’s a lot more property to be claimed. By becoming citizens of heaven, anyone can avoid the tragic end of this evil regime. My King doesn’t want anyone to stay on this “sinking ship.” He says anyone may come and no one will be turned away. My tour of duty is coming to an end and I will soon be called back home, but I’m still available to sign people up. The King’s son has already paid for the transaction. Any seeker of citizenship in heaven will be immediately accepted when he pledges allegiance to the King. All citizens of this world qualify. Background checks are already on file. Call me if interested. Or maybe you know someone else that might be interested. It’s by far the best deal on earth.
Wednesday, July 11
A few days ago I listened to David Jeremiah’s sermon based on John 17:3. “Now this is eternal life; that they may know you . . .” A statement he made caught my attention. “There’s one thing greater than knowing God; God knows me.” I was chewing on this instead of listening to his explanation. Fortunately, I had recorded his message and was able to go back and pick it up. He went on to describe how God knows every minutest detail about us. He even mentioned how God knows when a sparrow dies. This was not new to me, but Jeremiah’s next point came out loud and clear. God knows us to that degree because he loves us to that degree. What a glorious truth! As I meditated on that I realized the magnitude of my debt to him, a debt that I can’t begin to repay. But it prompts a response. Emotionally, I’m awed by God’s love. It enhances and expands my love for him. It motivates me to be more faithful in serving him. It makes me want to tell about his love. It’s not just for me; he loves others in the same way. It makes me praise him and worship him. And it makes me yearn for heaven, where I will know him even better and worship him on a higher plane. Magnificent in concept; more magnificent to experience.
Tuesday, July 10
Ps. 115: 3. “Our God is in heaven. he does whatever pleases him.” We all would like that kind of liberty. But that’s what got Adam into trouble, and it gets us into trouble when we assume that prerogative. Why is it different with God? It’s simply because of his holiness; sin is not pleasing to him. As finite fallen creatures, we are not holy the way God is holy. But God would like us to be holy. Not only would it please him, he has a plan to make it happen. The process is called sanctification. It begins when we turn our lives over to God. Since he paid the price to remove our sins, he can choose to make us holy. Not only has he provided sanctification, he’s committed to finish it. But it requires the death of the sin nature that will only be completed after our physical death. When we enter heaver, sin will be gone and we will no longer have the ability to corrupt anything. Since I have yet to experience life without sin, I can only imagine what it will be like in heaven. But I think I will like it, especially since everyone else there will be sinless, too. You will observe by that last remark that my sanctification is not complete. You will notice the difference when it happens. See you in heaven!
Monday, July 9
Becoming a Christian is described as a new life as opposed to being spiritually dead because of sin. That is expressed as “new birth,” a spiritual birth. We become part of God’s family. So we start as spiritual babies, progress to “children” and then “sons.” The apostle, John, has a bit of a twist on this. 1 John 2:12-14. He expresses the three levels of maturity as little children, young men, and fathers. But he also characterizes each one. “Little children” know that their sins have been forgiven (v. 12). That is the normal focus for new believers, and would include the truth about a home in heaven. John uses “young men” for “sons.” At this level the “child” has come of age and will have a part in the father’s business. John describes them as being strong in the faith, living by God’s word, and overcoming evil. Basically, he is a mature Christian, living a fruitful life. John’s description of his third level, fathers (v. 14), is people who “know God.” John also uses this phrase in speaking of “little children,” but I believe it implies a deeper and more intimate relationship with God in connection with “fathers.” “Fathers” also implies that there is spiritual offspring, new converts. Dare I ask what level you’re at?
Sunday, July 8
In my lifetime, pictographs have largely replaced words on public signs—partly to accommodate people that don’t know English and partly to supply’s quick and important messages while traveling at high speeds. Pictographs are effective. It really helps to know whether its “his” or “hers” by the pictograph on the door. And most government and business establishments use pictographs to give direction and identify offices. We’re in a “shrinking world.” International travel is mushrooming. Language barriers are eroding away. More people are learning foreign languages. Foreign languages are more in demand in both commercial and governmental circles. The “One World” dream is not dead. English has been proposed as a universal language for several reasons, but whether English or another language becomes the universal language, the “One World” goal remains. All that sounds good, but let’s look at it from a Biblical perspective. You will remember that God imposed multiple languages to restrain the human race from its evil desires. The trend toward a universal language and “One World” is eerily similar to what happened at Babel. It also fits with the Bible’s description of the last days—evil will prevail as never before. That’s the bad news. The Bible doesn’t predict another Babel-like divine intervention. Rather, God will allow sin to abound and then Christ will return and judgment will begin. The good news? God is in control and will be victorious in the end. Rejoice!