People have a right to look at our lives. We can’t go around saying “listen to what we say, but don’t look at how we live.” It doesn’t work that way. Part of our witness is the witness of a changed life. A real Christ will make real difference in real lives.
We live in a media saturated culture don’t we? Not only saturated with media, but saturated with advertising. Everywhere we look people are trying to sell us something. Every website in the world that’s free seems to have some kind of advertisement on it; banner ads, spam, TV commercials. It’s amazing how many thousands of times we hear somebody trying to sell us something. And one of the main ways that people try to convince us, one of the most effective ways is a personal testimony. You know what I am talking about where somebody uses the product and there they are the real person on TV and they are saying, “Yes Bob, this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I took it and three weeks later I was a different person.” It’s particularly true for diet ads isn’t it? You know you’ve got the before and after picture; there’s the guy or woman in the picture, 65 lbs different and you have got to admit that 65 lbs in this case makes a real difference. You look at that before and you look at that after and you go “Wow, what a powerful product” but then you notice in tiny letters underneath that famous phrase that we always have to remember, results not typical. Sure, two people took the product and had that result and they have taken pictures of both of them.
And so we struggle with that you know as a Christian community, do we hold up one or two saints and say, “Look at the change that Jesus can make in your life, but results not typical.” If we are presenting a message like that, we are talking about sharing our faith; if we are presenting a message like that how are we different than a diet company? Or Bowflex or any of the others? Character is important. A changed life is part of what we present to the world as Christians. We are in a world where people are jaded. People are fed up with empty claims and so we as the church have to present a different kind of life; an effective different kind of life so that people aren’t thinking in the backs of their minds, sure. It doesn’t really work. Well, we see a major change happening in someone’s life in today’s text. So I would like us to go to Acts 9, and we are going to being at the end of Verse 19 in Acts 9 and read to Verse 31. Acts, Chapter 9 and we are talking about Paul the Apostle.
The Message (MSG)
Plots Against Saul
19-21 Saul spent a few days getting acquainted with the Damascus disciples, but then went right to work, wasting no time, preaching in the meeting places that this Jesus was the Son of God. They were caught off guard by this and, not at all sure they could trust him, they kept saying, “Isn’t this the man who wreaked havoc in Jerusalem among the believers? And didn’t he come here to do the same thing—arrest us and drag us off to jail in Jerusalem for sentencing by the high priests?”
22 But their suspicions didn’t slow Saul down for even a minute. His momentum was up now and he plowed straight into the opposition, disarming the Damascus Jews and trying to show them that this Jesus was the Messiah.
23-25 After this had gone on quite a long time, some Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul got wind of it. They were watching the city gates around the clock so they could kill him. Then one night the disciples engineered his escape by lowering him over the wall in a basket.
26-27 Back in Jerusalem he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him. They didn’t trust him one bit. Then Barnabas took him under his wing. He introduced him to the apostles and stood up for him, told them how Saul had seen and spoken to the Master on the Damascus Road and how in Damascus itself he had laid his life on the line with his bold preaching in Jesus’ name.
28-30 After that he was accepted as one of them, going in and out of Jerusalem with no questions asked, uninhibited as he preached in the Master’s name. But then he ran afoul of a group called Hellenists—he had been engaged in a running argument with them—who plotted his murder. When his friends learned of the plot, they got him out of town, took him to Caesarea, and then shipped him off to Tarsus.
31 Things calmed down after that and the church had smooth sailing for a while. All over the country—Judea, Samaria, Galilee—the church grew. They were permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God. The Holy Spirit was with them, strengthening them. They prospered wonderfully.
Let’s pray. God we believe that this is your word to us and so each one of us is in a different place of life right now. Help us to hear whatever we need to hear, to respond to the grace and truth we find in Jesus Christ, for we ask this in his name. Amen.
We are going to take a look at a number of things that happened in this passage; to understand this whole process of how change affects our witness to the world. Take a look first at Verse 20. It says, the first two words in the NIV are “at once”. “At once he began to preach in the synagogue that Jesus is the Son of God.” The first thing we see happen in Paul’s life after he meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, after he has this encounter with Jesus, there is a massive change in Paul’s life. So, that’s the first thing we see; immediate major changes in life. Now, in Paul’s case it’s not a moral change. Paul was already a moral man. Paul was a leader in the community. He understood what morality was. He understood what it meant to be upright in his relationships with other people. He had the Ten Commandments fully memorized and understood, and he was trying to practice them. So the immediate change isn’t that Paul turned from someone we would expect to be panhandling in the gutter to a leading member of the community. It wasn’t that sort of change. It was a change where he was fighting against Christianity at one point and then astonishingly in just a very short period of time he comes out with power proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ. A deep change has happened in his life and that deep sort of change is what we should expect to happen as people encounter Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ changes lives.
Now we talk about witnessing being one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. That is absolutely true. But in the long run that Christian beggar, spiritual beggar, should change, should strengthen in their faith, because we don’t just proclaim forgiveness in Jesus Christ, we proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and that he deserves our obedience, and so obedience, a change of life is part of what happens in our lives and sometimes it happens very quickly. Now I mention in Paul’s case that it was not moral, it wasn’t obvious on that level, but for many of us it is moral. That’s the change that people first notice. I can think about when people see pastors, they think that they have always been Christian. People see missionaries; oh you assume that from the cradle they followed Christ. In fact, whenever somebody sees a mature Christian they think the same thing, but the fact is for many of us we became Christians later in life and I am one of those people; so I wasn’t always a Christian. So there is a day that I can point to that I turned my life over to Jesus Christ and immediately following that a number of changes happened, just like in Paul’s life, at once. One of them was my language. I constantly used obscenity before I became a Christian. Not only did I have an extremely caustic sense of humor where I would always be making jokes at other people’s expense and immediately those two things turned around. I was able to curb, in fact totally eliminate that in my life and then in terms of the humor part, I started to make more of those jokes at my own expense. Another change was I had a number of illustrations from a men’s magazine on my wall and immediately I threw all of those in the dumpster. Talk about making an impression on my friends. You can look into your own life, if you have become a Christian as an adult or if you have seen people become Christians as adults, we can often see some major area of shifting in their lives. We should expect this. This is what we preach. This is what we share. We share forgiveness and new life and so one of the critical witnesses is this power of a changed life. So there is that immediate major change that normally happens in some area of the life for an adult who becomes a Christian.
Let’s go on and see what else happens. Take a look at Verse 21 now. “All those who heard were astonished and asked, isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on his name?” A little bit later it talks about how people react and things like that, but let me just focus again on that issue. All those who heard him were astonished. Others were afraid. So the second thing we see happening here is that the friends of Paul are baffled by the change. There is at once a change in Paul’s life and then the people that surrounded him, the people who were his allies, the people who understood Paul before, now find that they don’t understand him at all and so they start asking all kinds of questions, is this the same guy? Didn’t he actually come up here to take these people prisoners that he is now preaching with? This is another result of the change of life, the change that happens around people when they come to Christ.
Research has shown that the number one opportunity for connecting in a powerful way with our friends, statistically, now this isn’t true for every life, but overall statistically, the number one time to connect with friends about Jesus Christ is in the first two years after you become a Christian, because that’s the period of time when people have the before and after picture in their minds. That’s when you still have a live relationship with all of these friends that you used to party with. And so that’s a critical time and these baffled people have a wonderful opportunity of grappling with the power of Jesus Christ to turn somebody around. It’s a great opportunity and we need to be encouraging our younger Christians, not only younger in age, but I mean newer Christians to be aware of this incredible opportunity to have as people around them start to grapple with the changes that Jesus Christ has worked out in their lives. Now it’s important in a time like that that they see the right image. I can think of on the one hand the good side of what I presented in changes in my moral life and all, but I can also think of times that I went home and I acted in a very judgmental fashion against my family and went on a several month crusade to talk about how my family didn’t do me any spiritual good for the first part of my life. Now that’s the bad side of baffling your friends and family. What did I do to get this? But that early time is a critical time and it’s a wonderful time of outreach for the baffled friends.
But then something else happens in Verse 23. “After many days had gone by the Jews conspired to kill him.” The next thing that happens is that you don’t just have baffled friends, but you start to get reactions from the people that surround you and we have seen this perhaps happen in our own lives. In Paul’s life the very people who were on his side, who went with him place to place seeking out the Christian church, to persecute people, these very people then make the decision to kill him, because not all the reactions are going to be good reactions. Not everyone around us responds well to the gospel and so there are strong reactions that happen in life to people who decide to follow Jesus Christ, and it happens particularly acutely in those early years.
In my life, I lost a roommate. My roommate got sick of hearing me listen to religious radio at eight o’clock at night in our room. He didn’t like the changes. He didn’t like my new morality and didn’t like that fact that I occasionally mentioned those things to him and so he left. He left without ever telling me he was leaving. He just wasn’t there one day. But, that’s minor stuff. There are people right now, Christians in Japan, when they become Christians sometimes their in-laws and parents put incredible pressures on them to turn back. We knew a person whose mother-in-law and father-in-law told her husband to divorce her because she was a Christian. The (Name-deleted) who work with Islamic peoples know people who have died because they are Christian; they had been face to face with these people, in conferences, in conversations and they are now dead. There are families that feel a responsibility to kill Christian members because of their religious convictions. These things happen in the world today. There are strong reactions when people turn their lives over to Jesus Christ. This is a reality and this is also part of our witness.
The story does not end there though; there is a major reaction, but God does not leave us alone in this. Verses 24 and 25, “Saul learned of their plan. They were watching the gates.” In Verse 25, “But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.” God provides a new community for believes and provides protection over believers. Now this does not always happen because people die, but very often God provides a miraculous sort of protection and very often the Christian community is part of that support and protection. And so in our culture where persecution is less apparent, much of the support we provide in the community is upholding people as they start to sort through all of the changes that are happening in their relationships, as people are baffled at first, and then rejected and pushed them away because they don’t feel comfortable with these Christian friends anymore. And so we as a community of Christians are a part of God’s answer to protect them emotionally, protect them physically, to be part of a new community that God builds around them and we need to be aware of this because if God prospers our outreach then this will be a continual part of our lives as a congregation. How do we as a community become part of God’s answer for the crisis that are happening in the life of somebody that’s changing? This community was ready. They looked out for Paul. This brand new guy; this guy they couldn’t trust just a short time before, they are ready to lay themselves on the line to get him safely out of the city. We need to be willing to lay ourselves on the line.
Then there is a description at the end of this passage. Verse 31, “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.” This dynamic thing that we see going on in Paul’s life, this new outreach that happens through Paul, with all the craziness of what happens in the community around them, of people being confused and then people reacting and hostility starting and in all of this mess there comes a place where the church is prospering and growing. Because the church prospers and grows not when we can control everything so that nothing is messy inside and nothing is messy outside, it’s when we are messy with the right things. When these changes are happening and things are turning over and dynamics are changing with the community; it’s in this context that the church prospers because it’s achieving the mission that God gave us.
So let’s just focus for a few minutes about what this means for us. This process of massive change happening in the life. Let’s first look at the issue of new Christians. What does this mean for new Christians? It means first of all that you should expect a change in your life. We are not talking about just an insurance policy in Christianity, where you can act the same way you did before, but now with no repercussions. We are talking about a new way of life. Following a new master; letting God change us in new ways. This is all part of what you should be expecting and seeking in your life and you should be desiring and hoping that your friends actually get to see some of these changes in your life, but let’s make sure that it’s the right change. The change they should see is that they should see now that a person that wasn’t concerned about God at all, now is concerned that God is central in life, that we are humble, that we have taken the place of being a learner. When they look at us they should be able to see love, not in huge and perfect measures, but they should be able to see an increasing measure love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Those are the things that make up a changed life and not judgementalness, a sense of superiority, a desire to always keep people distant because they might be messed up and dirty. It’s very natural at times, but that’s not the witness of a changed life.
What does it mean for the community? It means for us, Central Presbyterian Church, a Christian community, that we have to be a community that’s always ready for those new people. We can’t get satisfied with just having great fellowship with other mature Christians, because God might need us, our particular gifts, our particular place in life, our age, whatever God wants to use, God might need that in order to support a new Christian, in order to form that new community of protection around them as this new person goes through these massive changes in life and has all of these relationships around them in turmoil. We are often called to be that new community and we have to ask ourselves, in our small group, in our ministry group are we ready for those new people? Or have we decided that no we are sufficient as we were, let somebody else take care of them. We’ve got to be willing to get our hands messy sometimes, because you know if you are dealing with a newer Christian, you are going to be talking about things that you have already got settled in your life. There are times that it is going to feel like spiritual kindergarten, but that’s what we are called to and you know just a few moments in that sort of relationship and your own life blossoms because there is some kinds of growth that aren’t going to happen unless you are connecting with someone whose less mature.
The third area; older Christians. What’s the word here for older Christians? Whenever I look at those diet ads, one of the questions that I always ask myself is what do those people look like 3-5 years later? You know, we’ve got the picture at 11 months. They have been on the diet program and they have dropped the weight, what about 3 or 5 years later? Are they still different? Because if they are still not different it hasn’t really worked and you know, that’s true for Christianity. If people can’t look at our lives after we walked with Christ for a while, and see a change, a profound change in some way, and we are not talking about perfection, but if they can’t see a substantial and deep change, then that’s a problem. People have a right to look at our lives. We can’t go around as if we can say listen to what we say, but don’t look at how we live. It doesn’t work that way. Part of our witness is the witness of a changed life and so those of us who have been walking with Christ longer have to ask ourselves, what do people see when they get close to our families? What do people see when they get into our workplace? What do people see when we are on the golf course or playing tennis? A real Christ will make real difference in real lives.
And so we need to be seeking that change, repenting if it’s not there and rejoicing when it is and pressing on. We always press on. So what kind of church are we going to be at Central Presbyterian Church? We are talking about reaching out. We are talking about sharing Christ, well what kind of church are we going to be as we share Christ? Are we going to be the kind of church that points to a few things; oh take a look at so and so, now that person really walks with God. Oh, take a look at this person; they really walk with God, but underneath it all, results not typical. Or are we going to be a community that although we are not perfect we are filled with changed lives? We are a community that is able to take a closer look, because we have found that Christ really does work in us and change us. So let’s ask God now to make a real difference in our lives. We need to ask God to make a real difference in our lives, whether we are brand new at walking with Christ or whether we have been walking with Christ our whole lives, we’ve got to continue to ask God for that because it brings glory to Christ. What brings glory to him is changing sinful people in to his own image. So we pray for it because it brings glory to Christ and we pray for it because there is a needy world around it that will never believe what we say unless they see it revved up.
So let’s pray. God we thank you for all the changed lives that we have seen in our own lives, that have been part of us coming to Christ and growing in Christ. Lord, you know what our particular struggles are. We pray now that you give us clean hands and give us pure hearts. Help us not pursue the old way of life, but to pursue the new way of life in Jesus Christ, and may our character that changes in our own lives and in the lives of the people around us, may that be one part of the witness that we bring to this world, for we ask it in Jesus name. Amen.
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Trust is to human relationships what faith is to gospel living. It is the beginning place, the foundation upon which more can be built. Where trust is, love can flourish.
A chicken and a pig came upon a church building and read the advertisement on the billboard out front, which read, “Help Us Feed the Poor.” Immediately the chicken suggested they help feed the poor with bacon and eggs. The pig thought for a moment and said, “There is one thing wrong with feeding bacon and eggs to the poor. For you it only requires a contribution, but for me it requires total commitment.”
Many in the church today do not want to be totally committed to the Lord because it demands too much of them.
Webster’s Dictionary says “To commit oneself says one is to speak or act in such a manner as to bind oneself to a certain line of conduct.”
Commitment to Jesus Christ is more than a definition: it requires my life, my soul, and my all. But too often find ourselves lingering between being committed and uncommitted.
In the following scripture passages the life of the uncommitted and the committed are presented to us.
1. Are you Uncommitted?
16 “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, ” ’You shall not murder,’ ’You shall not commit adultery,’ ’You shall not steal,’ ’You shall not bear false witness,’
19 ’Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Those that are Uncommitted focus on Self rather than the ways and work of God. (vs.16)
“What good thing shall I do that I may have…”
Self-centeredness is the hallmark of our society today. The only thing that people seem to care about is their own desires, their own wishes, their own satisfaction no matter what the cost or the consequences.
Most marriages dissolve because of the self-centered attitude of the married couple. Neither is willing to give themselves completely to the other, but each wants to live their own lives as a single but still be married. Marriage still requires surrendering our own desires and wants to the will of God and to make the relationship work at all costs.
Our self-centered attitudes have spilled over into every realm of life:
Our children are disrespectful of parents or any form of authority because they have been told that whatever they want they can have and no one has the right to stop them or to punish them.
Our Representatives and Senators have become so self-centered concerning their own jobs and popularity that they will sell out the security of our nation if it is necessary to win a few votes.
Our leaders are so wrapped up in their own plans and desires for political and financial gain that they no longer seem to be concerned about our nation and rush headlong into making decisions that fly into the face of God as if to say we want no part of you anymore.
Those that are Uncommitted focus on Keeping laws and legalistic works rather than the Word of God.
“All these things I have kept …”
Its not about keeping a bunch of do’s and don’ts. Its about keeping the laws of grace and mercy and obeying the commandments to live a holy life.
We get so caught up in judging others that we forget about the sin in our own lives.
Those that are Uncommitted focus on Riches of the here and now rather than the riches of Heaven.
“Go and sell and follow Me.” – Treasure and heart issues
The Bible tells us that where our treasure is, that’s where our heart will be also. In a world that is so caught up in materialism and self-gratification, it’s no wonder that people don’t have a heart after God.
It has been my experience that it does not matter whether you are rich or poor, whether you have a lot or very little of this world’s goods, you can still be materialistic.
If you get more upset over your car getting scratched, or your new carpet getting stained, or you new clothes being ruined than you do over the sin in your life then you are materialistic.
If we set our hearts on the things of God and lay up our treasures in Heaven, those little situations won’t mean nearly as much to us.
Those that are Uncommitted focus on Keeping rather than giving.
“He had great possessions”
Mark 8:36 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
What good will houses and lands and all the possessions of this world do you when this life is over.
I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul! You can’t take it with you. You came into this world with nothing and you will go out of it with nothing.
The only things that will follow you are the souls that you have won to Jesus and the good works that you did for the Lord with the right heart. Everything else will be burned away.
How about you and I?
Are we part of the uncommitted always focusing on self rather than God?
This man who came to Jesus was looking for a better method of getting what he wanted rather than wanting God to make him a better man.
We are prone to look to God for greater ways and means to accomplish our goals … whereas God is looking for us to surrender our lives and give our soul to accomplish His goals.
3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
4 “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ’The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.’
5 “For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor,
6 “if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt,
7 “then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever. 8 “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit.
God never gives up on the uncommitted.
He is always calling and challenging the uncommitted to commit to Him.
2 Timothy 2:11-13 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself
2. Are you Committed?
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
35 “For I have come to ’set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;
36 “and ’a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.”
37 “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
1)Those who are Committed focus on Inner Peace rather than a temporal peace of man. (vs.34)
Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
This is peace that no amount of troubles can take away. This is peace that will be with you in the middle of every storm.
I don’t know how people who don’t know the Lord can survive in this world. It is no wonder than so many are committing suicide or end up in a mental institution. Without Jesus there is no real peace.
2)Those who are Committed focus on Relationship with Christ rather than with family and friends. (vs.35-36)
Certainly, family and friends are important and must have a high priority in your life, but nothing must come before your relationship with God.
Jesus still holds us to the commandment that says thou shalt have no other God’s before me. Anything and anyone who separates us from God or who stands in the way of our relationship with God becomes an idol to us.
If we focus first on a relationship with Jesus, then all of our other relationships will be far greater because of the Love of God that will be made manifest in us.
3)Those who are Committed focus on Love worth finding rather than selfish love of man. (vs.37)
What is real love anyway? Most people confuse lust with love, or physical attraction with love, or the feeling that this is right with love. None of those these have anything to do with love. They only have to do with two people with an uncontrollable lust.
Love is really found when we still care about someone after we have seen them at their worst.
When the dirty clothes are stacked to the ceiling, the dirty dishes beg for your attention, the sick babies are crying in you ears and pulling on your leg, the creditors are ringing your phone every 20 minutes and we haven’t even had time to brush our teeth or comb our hair. If you can still look at one another after all of that and feel love, then you can say we truly have love one for another.
Love is also giving without expecting anything in return.
Love is doing all you can do for someone else, and when you are feeling totally exhausted and can’t seem to take another step, love will get up and go another mile if asked to do so.
4) Those who are Committed focus on Discovering the Source of Life rather than being the source. (vs.39)
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.
We are to be Committed to God first of all.
Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus said to him, ” ’you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 “This is the first and great commandment.
Those who are committed to God will not have trouble meeting any of their other commitments. The pure love of God and our pure love for Him will keep us on the right path.
Secondly we should be Committed to Church.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
How can we say that we love the Lord and yet fail to attend the services where God can speak to us and through us?
No man is an island. We need each other to grow, to have strength for the battle.
How can we say we love God and yet fail time and again to come together to meet with Him and to be around the people of God?
How long would your marriage last if there was no togetherness and no communication?
How can we say we love God when we don’t even care what goes on at God’s house?
Is your commitment to Jesus Christ and the truth that leads you into a loving peaceful relationship with Him?
Are you willing to die to the things of this life that you may live in Christ and obtain a life that is far more peaceful and fulfilling than the life the world offers?
An African Pastor was threatened by rebels who demanded that he renounce his faith or die. He refused. The night before they took his life, he wrote the following lines on a scrap of paper:
I am part of the “Fellowship of the Unashamed.” I have Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I’ve stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals!
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, lean by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up, or burn up till I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops.
And when He comes to get His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear.
How about you?
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Are you living to die? Or, are you dying to live?
If we will live this life in search of the truth of the Gospel, in search for the true love of God, in search of the peace that passes all understanding and in search of commitment to Jesus as Lord, then we will be ready for that life which is yet to come. At the moment of our death we will enter into the Glories of Heaven.
If we live this life in our own way, forgetting God, forsaking and rejecting His great salvation, then we are already walking dead in our sin. The end of this life is only a step down into a deep dark and terrible eternal death where we will be always dying but never really die.
Come to Jesus – ONLY THEN CAN YOU REALLY EXPERIENCE WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT.
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