‘…before the throne of our merciful God… we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.’ Hebrews 4:16 CEV
When you pray, ‘Our Father,’ you define every other relationship in your life:
(a) You define your relationship to the material world. Since God is your Father, you’re not a stranger but an heir to the blessings of His universe (Psalms 24:1). But beware of the values of the world: ‘Don’t love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father’ (1 John 2:15 CEV). Nothing must take God’s place! (B-) You define your relationship to others. Everyone around you is your Father’s creation and as such you must accept, love and value them. We’re commanded to love our neighbour as ourselves regardless of colour, creed or distinction. We’re not to compete with them or strive for superiority over them or use them for our own ends.
(c) You define your relationship to yourself. God says He’s your Father; what a foundation on which to build your self-worth! Regardless of what’s been said or done in the past to make you feel inadequate or inferior, you can hold your head high. You’re not a nobody once God calls you His child. (d) You define your relationship to God. Because of your relationship to Jesus, the Father declares you ‘…accepted in the Beloved’ (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV). As He accepts Jesus, so He accepts you! ‘…As many as received Him…He gave the right to become children of God…’ (John 1:12 NAS). You no longer need to approach Him in fear. You can walk right up ‘before the throne of our merciful God [and] be treated with undeserved kindness and…find help.’ It doesn’t get any better!
Deut 30:1 – 32:28, Mark 6:14-29, Ps 57, Pro 12:15-17
…His…riches…in the saints.’ Ephesians 1:18 NKJV
Paul prayed for the believers at Ephesus that they might know what God called them to do and understand the ‘riches’ He had invested in them.
Think about this: (1) God knows what He’s invested in you. He doesn’t redeem you one day and take you to Heaven the next. He calls and equips you to fulfil a certain purpose in this world. Christ taught that some of us are five-talent people, some are two-talent people and some are one-talent people (Matthew 25:15). That’s why it’s a mistake to draw comparisons. It’s not what you have that determines your reward, but what you do with what you have. It’s when you bury your talent because you’re afraid to risk and fail, that you get into trouble with God. (2) God protects what He’s invested in you. Do we sometimes disobey God? Yes. Does He discipline us? Yes. And your response to Him can either lengthen or shorten your season of discipline. But does God abandon us? Never! ‘…God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn’ (Romans 11:29 NLT). (3) God expects a return on what He’s invested in you. When you get to the end of your life, what will you have to show for it? God gave you time, talent, and treasure. Are you using them selfishly or are you using them to serve Him and bless others? ‘…We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive…according to what he has done, whether good or bad’ (2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV).
The songwriter put it this way: ‘Only one life, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.’
Deut 22-24, Mark 5:21-30, Ps 44:1-8, Pro 12:7-9
Keep your tongue from evil…’ Psalms 34:13 NIV
Did you hear about the three women who decided to confess their weaknesses to each other? The first confessed to drinking too much. The second confessed to being jealous of a friend’s good looks. The third said nothing, so the other two pressed her and asked, ‘Ok, what’s your weakness?’ Finally she answered, ‘It’s gossip, and I can’t wait to get out of here and talk about you two!’
Now let’s get serious. The Bible has strong words when it comes to the subject of gossip: ‘He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin’ (Proverbs 13:3 NIV). ‘If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless’ (James 1:26 NIV). ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil’ (1 Peter 3:10 NIV). Gossip is like mud thrown against a wall – it may not stick, but it leaves a dirty mark. And that mark can last a lifetime! So before you take aim, check your target. Ask yourself how much damage you’ll inflict and how you’ll feel about it afterwards. Solomon said, ‘The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit’ (Proverbs 18:21 NIV). Did you get that? You will ‘eat your words’. You’ll reap the harvest you sow, good or bad.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for faults, look in the mirror. When you work on your own shortcomings, you’ll have no time left to gossip about anybody else’s.
Deut 18-21, Mark 5:11-20, Ps 37:32-40, Pro 12:4-6