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    When Your Heart is In the Right Place – Is it Enough?

    “At the end of the day, what matters is whether your heart is in the right place.” That was the gist of what I said to my friend Christy* a few days ago, when we were talking about life in general and how to honor God in our lifestyles.

    Follow Me

    Digital footprint. A phrase that describes an ever- present reality didn’t even exist until recently. At the school where I teach, one of our technology leaders challenged us to consider whether our students grasped the permanency of where they go and what they do online. As she spoke, my mind pondered this question: If my digital footprint were a trail to follow, where would it lead others?

    The Staggering Question

    Can a sinner be turned into a saint? Can a twisted life be made right? There is only one appropriate answer— “O Lord God, You know” (Ezekiel 37:3). Never forge ahead with your religious common sense and say, “Oh, yes, with just a little more Bible reading, devotional time, and prayer, I see how it can be done.”

    “Yes— But . . .!”

    Lord, I will follow You, but . . . —Luke 9:61

    Suppose God tells you to do something that is an enormous test of your common sense, totally going against it. What will you do? Will …

    Expect and Extend Mercy

    When I complained that a friend’s choices were leading her deeper into sin and how her actions affected me, the woman I prayed with weekly placed her hand over mine. “Let’s pray for all of us.”

    I frowned. “All of us?”

    “Yes,” she said. “Aren’t you the one who always says Jesus sets our standard of holiness, so we shouldn’t compare our sins to the sins of others?”

    “That truth hurts a little,” I said, “but you’re right. My judgmental attitude and spiritual pride are no better or worse than her sins.”

    “And by talking about your friend, we’re gossiping. So —-”

    “We’re sinning.” I…

    The Good or The Best?

    As soon as you begin to live the life of faith in God, fascinating and physically gratifying possibilities will open up before you. These things are yours by right, but if you are living the life of faith you will exercise your right to waive your rights, and let God make your choice for you. God sometimes allows you to get into a place of testing where your own welfare would be the appropriate thing to consider, if you were not living the life of faith.

    Lookalikes

    They say we all have one: Doppelgangers some call them. Lookalikes. People unrelated to us who look very much like us.

    Mine happens to be a star in the music field. When I attended one of his concerts, I got a lot of double takes from fellow fans during intermission. But alas, I am no James Taylor when it comes to singing and strumming a guitar. We just happen to look alike.

    Who do you look like? As you ponder that question, reflect on 2 Corinthians 3:18, where Paul tells us that we “are being transformed into [the Lord’s] image.” As we seek…

    Defending God

    The anti-God bumper stickers covering the car seized the attention of a university professor. As a former atheist himself, the professor thought perhaps the owner wanted to make believers angry. “The anger helps the atheist to justify his atheism,” he explained. Then he warned, “All too often, the atheist gets exactly what he is looking for.”

    In recalling his own journey to faith, this professor noted the concern of a Christian friend who invited him to consider the truth of Christ. His friend’s “sense of urgency was conveyed without a trace of anger.” He never forgot the genuine respect and grace…

    Having God’s “Unreasonable” Faith

    Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you —Matthew 6:33

    When we look at these words of Jesus, we immediately find them to be the most revolutionary that human ears have ever heard. “. . …

    Running the Race

    In 2005 Dean Karnazes ran 350 miles in eighty hours—setting the world record for distance running without sleep. Ten years later, Rob Young, nicknamed the “Marathon Man,” broke the record by covering nearly 374 miles in eighty-eight hours. Young, who had endured abuse by his father as a child, said he ran with two goals in mind: to test the limits of human endurance and to help the world become a better place for kids.

    The Habit of Enjoying Adversity

    We have to develop godly habits to express what God’s grace has done in us. It is not just a question of being saved from hell, but of being saved so that “the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” And it is adversity that makes us exhibit His life in our mortal flesh. Is my life exhibiting the essence of the sweetness of the Son of God, or just the basic irritation of “myself” that I would have apart from Him? The only thing that will enable me to enjoy adversity is the acute sense of eagerness of allowing the life of the Son of God to evidence itself in me.

    The Habit of Keeping a Clear Conscience

    God’s commands to us are actually given to the life of His Son in us. Consequently, to our human nature in which God’s Son has been formed (see Galatians 4:19), His commands are difficult. But they become divinely easy once we obey.

    Conscience is that ability within me that attaches itself to the highest standard I know, and then continually reminds me of what that standard demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what we regard as the highest standard. This explains why conscience is different in different people.

    Love multiplied and magnified

    Love is strange! The more you give, the more you have! Tamera shares the story of growing their family through adoption. She and her son Daniel describe how God created a special bond of love through the “words to live by” they found in Scripture.

    Too Good Not to Share

    During court proceedings, witnesses are more than onlookers or spectators. They are active participants who help determine the outcome of a case. The same should be true of the witnesses the Bible says we are to be. We are active participants in a matter of absolute importance—the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

    When John the Baptist came to tell people about Jesus, the light of the world, he did so by declaring his knowledge of Jesus. And John the disciple, who recorded the events, testified of his experience with Jesus: “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one…

    Liberty and the Standards of Jesus

    A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand—”Believe this and that”; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals (see John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty for the conscience of others, not to bring them liberty for their thoughts and opinions. And if we ourselves are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty— the liberty that comes from realizing the absolute control and authority of Jesus Christ.


    September 2019: Christian Living

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