Your Sin Will Find You Out
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. PHILIPPIANS 2:4
When Israel was entering the Promised Land, the two tribes of Reuben and Gad saw that the already-conquered territory on the east side of the Jordan was good for their herds and flocks. Thinking only of themselves—of their own needs and the convenience of settling the land they already stood on—rather than being concerned about Israel’s inheritance as a whole, they approached Moses with a request: “ ‘Let this land be given to your servants as our possession. Do not make us cross the Jordan’ ” (Numbers 32:5). Moses was an old man, but his eyes blazed, his jaw set, anger came to his face. Moses said, “‘Shall your countrymen go to war while you sit here?… [If so,] you may be sure your sin will find you out’ ” (Numbers 32:6, 23). Over the years his words proved to be true. That verse is God’s message to any of His people who sit down in apathy and lethargy while their brothers and sisters are in need, or when others are dying and spiritually lost. We can be sure that our sin will find us out.
The Work of Every Believer
Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 1 CORINTHIANS 9:16
What is an evangelist? An evangelist is a person with a special gift and a special calling from the Holy Spirit to announce the Good News of the Gospel. It is a gift of God that cannot be manufactured or faked. It is also a calling from God. Understanding this will help protect us from two dangerous temptations. First, this understanding will protect us from pride, because we know that whatever gift we have and whatever opportunities may open up to us are from God. We cannot take any credit or glory for ourselves. And, second, this understanding will save us from discouragement and the temptation to give up, because we know our calling is not from man but from God. Some are called to be evangelists—but every Christian is called to the work of evangelism, for every Christian is called to tell others about Christ and what He has done for them. With whom will you share the good news of Christ today?
Choice, Change, Challenge
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” MATTHEW 16:24
What is a true Christian? First, a Christian is a person who has made a choice. We have to choose—just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden—to obey God or rebel against Him. We make that choice initially when we commit our lives to Christ, but we also make that choice day by day, moment by moment. What kind of choices are you making? Second, a Christian is a person whose life has been changed. That transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit. The moment you receive Christ—the moment you choose Him—the Spirit of God comes to live in your heart. What changes have taken place in your life—in your thoughts, feelings, behavior, goals, relationships—since you chose to follow Jesus? Third, a Christian is a person who has accepted a challenge. The challenge is Jesus’ call to deny self—our own selfish ambitions, our own selfish sinful pleasures—and take up our cross. In what ways are you denying yourself in order to follow Jesus? Choice, change, and challenge—these should characterize every Christian. Are they true of you?
God’s Seven Wonders, Part II
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. REVELATION 3:20
The fourth of God’s seven wonders is the wonder of conversion. The word conversion means “to change, to turn.” You cannot convert yourself: you have to have God help you repent. The Holy Spirit helps us say “no” to sin and “yes” to Christ—and He gives us new life. The fifth wonder is the gift of peace and joy that Christ gives. God’s wondrous love and the gracious forgiveness He offers through Jesus Christ bring peace and joy. The sixth wonder is God’s plan for the future. I look forward to that day when He will return. What a glorious day that will be when we see Him face-to-face! The seventh wonder of God is your own commitment to Jesus Christ. He has come to save you, but He won’t force you to make that commitment. Have you committed your life to Him—totally and without reserve? Love, Incarnation, the Cross, conversion, peace and joy, God’s plan, your commitment to Jesus—God definitely is the God of wonders!
God’s Seven Wonders, Part I
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live. PSALM 6 3:3–4
There were seven wonders of the ancient world, and from time to time we read about the seven wonders of the modern world. But God has His seven wonders too. The first is the wonder of God’s love. The Almighty God, the Creator of the whole universe, loves you and is interested in you as if you were the only person who ever lived. Even when we sin against Him, He still wants to put His arms around us and say, “I love you.” The second is the wonder of God coming to live among us. God became a man—and that man was Jesus. He took on flesh so that He might know our trials and heartaches, and be tempted as we are. He understands us. The third is the wonder of the Cross. Jesus died for you and for me. Far more than His excruciatingly painful physical death, He suffered spiritually when God laid on Him your sins and mine. He who had never known sin took the penalty for all our sin. What wondrous love is this!
A Solid Foundation
Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them… is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. LUKE 6:47–48 NKJV
Jesus talked about two men who were building houses. One built his house on a solid rock foundation—and when the storms came, his house stood. The other man built his house on sand—and when the storms came, his house crumbled and fell. Many people today live in homes built on sand. Lacking the right foundation, their family is in trouble. What about you? When the floods of sorrow, the waves of temptation, and the gales of adversity come, will your home stand? Make Jesus Christ the foundation of your home—and your life. I believe that no home can stand unless the family in that home has a strong faith in Jesus. There needs to be family prayer and Bible reading, and active involvement in a church where Christ is taught and followed. God’s patter for a strong, Christ-centered home is best fulfilled by a godly father and mother—but even when this isn’t possible because of death or divorce, Christ can still help you build your home on His will. On what are you building the foundation of your home? The rock of Christ’s teaching or the sand of self-will?
Facing Your Giants
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD.” 1 SAMUEL 17:45
What giants are you facing? The giant of peer pressure? Of different ideologies and philosophies fighting for control of your life? What about giants like social injustice, moral deterioration, or crime? Or maybe the giant of fear, joblessness, broken relationships, or family conflict? Young David faced a giant named Goliath, a member of the Philistine nation—a bitter enemy of God’s people. Goliath was more than nine feet tall and clothed with heavy armor. His spear was about the size of a tree trunk. Goliath was one of the largest men in recorded history. He defied the army of Israel, challenging them to send a man against him. David volunteered. Goliath had David out-armed and out-experienced. Goliath was a great warrior; David was not. His only weapon was a slingshot—and a deep dependence on God And God gave him victory. Everyone has problems, and Christ wants to help you face yours—if you will let Him. No matter what giants you are facing today, put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–18) and trust Him to give you victory.