Think about it!
Have you noticed how “fast” things seem to be? In fact, have you noticed that, not only are thing fast, but we want “faster” all the time? Think about it. Look at all the things we demand to be fast or faster:
- · Fast drying glue;
- · Fast drying paint;
- · Instant pudding;
- · Microwave meals
- · Faster service;
- · Fast food;
- · Faster moving traffic;
- · Faster internet;
- · Faster computers;
- · Faster trains, planes, & automobiles; and
- · Faster paced action movies.
We are getting what we asked for as our lives are moving at the speed of life. Our busy, fast paced lives are stressing us out and wearing us out. Things are moving so fast that life seems to just pass us by. We were warned though. Listen to the words of James in 4:14, “…what is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” A mist…here one moment…vanished the next. How fleeting? How short?
As I get older…much, much older…and wiser, I want SLOWER. Can I suggest you strive for SLOWER too?
S – Stop! Stop and smell the roses. Be intentional about, not just slowing down, but stopping completely. Stop for heavens sakes. Notice what’s around you. Enjoy!
L – Listen! Listen to what is going on around you. God encourages us to be “Quick to listen and slow to speak.” I’m always amazed at how much I hear when I actually listen.
O – One! We only have one life to live. Take every moment of that life captive. All the money & power in the world can’t buy yesterday back.
W – Whoa!!!! Funny, God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Is it any wonder that the world says just the opposite? Disconnect from the world. SLOOOW down. Slow & steady wins the race. And besides, all that stress is gonna kill ya.
E – Enjoy! Enjoy the journey. While goals and plans are important, don’t forget that “getting there” is half the fun. My dad used to tell me, “Half of having is wanting.” How true. Planning a wedding…part of the fun of the wedding. Planning a vacation…part of the fun of the trip. Traveling around the country…seeing the sights along the way is part of the fun.
R – Relationship! Two greatest commands in the Bible – love God & others - is all about relationships. Invest in them. Be there…be Present with those you love. Investing in relationships takes quality AND quantity time. Learn to say NO to things that don’t grow your relationships.
Well, that’s about it! Ready to go SLOWER? I know I am!
Choices. Everyday we make choices. If you’re like me, some of your choices are good ones and some, well, not so good. You might even call those not so good choices, bad.
There is responsibility that goes with every choice we make. Usually, the freedom we have to choose carries with it consequences. If we choose, for example, to make a run at the yellow traffic light, the consequence could range from nothing at all to a fatality. Solomon warns of the consequences of choice,“Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their schemes.” (Prov. 1:29-31)
We’ve heard a lot about choice lately in the news. Some decided to loot Baltimore after a young man died while in the custody of police. The Supreme Court is about to rule on Affordable Care Act subsidies and same sex marriage. In the next couple of years, new political leaders will be elected. Lot's of important choices.
Choices. Owning guns. Wearing furs. Driving SUV’s. Smoking cigarettes. Having an abortion. Sex before marriage. Saying “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. Living in this country. Believing in Jesus Christ. All are choices we make or, want to make, that carry “politically correct or incorrect” consequences.
King David said in Psalm 119:30 “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.” Remember the young girl, Rachel Joy Scott, a student at Columbine High School? Her choice to admit her love for Jesus Christ cost her life.
What if you were an Egyptian Christian standing before ISIS? They admitted their love for Jesus and were beheaded? If that choice was before you, what would you choose?
Paul commended Moses for refusing to be the Son of Pharaoh saying, “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” (Heb. 11:25) Would you choose rags or riches?
Isaiah warned the Jews about cheating God in their offerings, “But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pigs blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships and idol. They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations; so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” (Isaiah 66:3-4) Have you chosen God’s way or your own?
I’ve made thousands of choices over the years. I own guns. I don’t wear furs. I drive a twelve-passenger van. I don’t smoke. I’m pro-life. I don’t mess around on my wife. I love America. I believe that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God, and I accept Him as my Lord and Savior. I even post a ton of those choices on social media like Facebook.
I’ve also made some decisions regarding future choices.
I’ve decided to give God my first fruits – time, money, effort, attention, and love. I want my love relationship with Him to be my first and most important priority.
I’ve also decided to be more consistent. I don’t want my faith in Christ to seem as inconsistent as public opinion expressed in the daily polls. When people see me, I don’t want there to be any question as to whom I place my trust.
Finally, I have decided to stand for the Truth of Jesus Christ no matter what the cost. I will, even in the face of death, choose to admit my love for God and Jesus. In my early life, I wouldn’t even have dreamed that this would be a choice I would face. But times, "they have a changed."
As I reflect on these choices, how could I choose to do or be any less? God made a choice. He chose me at the cost of His only Son. (1 Thes. 1:4; Eph. 1:4,11; 1 Peter 2:9) Now it’s my turn.
The number 1 is everywhere...in song, in the movies, in companies. We've been told that "One is the loneliest number." For years, many watched the day time show, "One Life to Live." Today, we see countless adds for Capital One, a credit card company wanting you to make debt purchases. We have also played "one-on-one" games, seen a "one trick pony," or have witnessed the mistake of a "one night stand." Yes, the number one is everywhere.
The number one is a really cool number. First, and foremost, one is considered in mathematics as the only "perfect number." In numerology, the number one is a symbol for everything (unity), the beginning, and God. The number one is independent of all others & the source of all others.
Makes sense then, that in Ephesians 4:4-6, Paul wrote that there is "one body," "one spirit," "one Lord," "one Faith," "one Baptism," "one God," and we were all called to "one hope." That's a lot of one!
In Deut. 6:4 - we learn that the "Lord is One." In Hebrew, it's written as "our One Elohim is Jehovah." In Revelation, we learn that God, the great "I am" is "the Living One." Jesus, of course, was the only perfect One. The one sacrificial Lamb of God. And Timothy wrote in 1 Tim 2:5, "For there is One God and One Mediator, between God & man, the man Christ Jesus." That's a One we can put our hope in.
Finally, we see "one" as being "first." In sports, we raise one finger denoting that we finished first in the race or we were the winner of the game. Being first, in our culture, is very important.
In Isaiah 48:12-13 God said, "I am he...I am the first." In Revelation, God says he is "the Alpha & Omega...the First & the Last." We are told to "seek first" the kingdom of God. Thinking of "firsts" is an important Biblical concept too.
One thing is for sure, One is not the loneliest number because our One true God is with us always. And, while we may have one life to live on this Earth, our One Hope is that we will live One eternal life with the Living One. So, if you want to make One investment, don't make it in the Capital One debt company, put your life in the hands of the perfect One, Jesus! That's One choice you will never regret!
I bet you have used the word "that." Maybe, you've used it as a demonstrative pronoun, "That was hard." Just maybe, you've used "that" as a demonstrative adjective, "That test was hard." Or, just maybe, when using the word "that," you used it as an adverb, "The test wasn't that bad."The use of "that" isn't a new trend but is as old as the Bible itself. In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote in Phil 3:12-21, "...I press on to take hold of 'that'..." The cool thing is what "that" was according to Paul in this text:
"That" - is why Jesus pursues us & takes hold of us;
"That" - is the goal;
"That" - is the prize for which God calls us heavenward;
"That" - is the thing that causes me to live in such a way as if I don't have it;
"That" - is the thing I should live worthy of having won as a prize;
"That" - is why Christ uses His power to transform me into His likeness; and
"That" - provides me with citizenship of heaven.
What is "That?" "That," my friend, is the good news. "That"...that goal, that prize worth living for is salvation by grace through faith giving each one of us eternal life with Jesus. Image "that." Forever in the presence of God and His glory. I can get into "that!"
I heard a great idea this weekend....God uses small things to make big things happen. In Zechariah 4:10 we read, "For who has despised the day of small things ? But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel -these are the eyes of the LORD which range to and fro throughout the earth."