Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. C. S. Lewis
Have my eyes been on heaven or earth this week? Whenever I take my eyes off the prize of heaven I find that my earthly endeavors produce zilch. As in the wisdom of C.S. Lewis, I gain nothing in the spiritual realm or natural realm – a double loss. When I focus on achieving earthly gain, the precious time given me by my good Father was wasted. No amount of repentance, crying, or regret will ever bring it back.
Praise Almighty God! He reminds:
“19Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”~ Matt. 6:19-21 (NIV)
Prayer: “Abba in heaven, help me to resist temptation to live for self, to stay the course, and to focus on serving You as my highest priority every day. Thank You for being my Rock, My High Tower of Strength, for loving me; and for sending angels to watch over me and my family, even when my time was spent in trivial pursuits. In the name of Yeshua, my Salvation, Amen.”
We have all experienced the need for “starting over”. It can be a painful prospect, but in many cases, a reset is the only solution.
Setting a new course can be just the thing necessary to set us free from heartache, guilt, doubt, addiction, unfruitfulness; or in the case of spiritual warfare, a total rebirth:
“7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’. 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear the sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” ~ John 3:7-8 (NIV)
God chose a flood to wipe out the wickedness that man had caused on the earth (Genesis 6). Rather than destroy man completely, God provided a way of escape for Noah and his family by calling upon Noah to build an ark. Through faith, Noah was allowed a means of starting over – a reset, if you will. The victorious reset in history over mankind’s separation from God is the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after His crucifixion. Praise God, we serve a Living Christ! Another major reset for mankind will take place in the future when our Messiah returns and sets up His kingdom on earth – the Millennial Age. These examples of God’s resets show that God’s love for us is not to be defeated. He has not given up on us, but His plan requires starting over.
I chose this feature photo because the rainbow reminds me of God’s faithful promise to never again consume the earth with a flood. He placed the rainbow in the skies as evidence of His promise. After the rains, the flooding will pass.
Starting over is like that for me. The world consumed me like a flood, but the flooding has passed. God’s magnificent rainbow of promise lies before me, and I rejoice in starting over in Him.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” ~ James 4:8a (ESV)
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” ~ Galations 6:9 (KJV)
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide you a way out so that you can endure it.” ~ I Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
“A mystery in the Bible is a previously unrevealed truth that was not fully revealed until the New Testament. The mystery that is revealed in 1 Timothy 3:16 is that Jesus Christ was wholly man, and wholly God, or God of very God.”~ Cooper Abrams
The Word of God is living and active. It pries, prods, kicks and squirms;twists, shoves, rips and tears its way into every crook and cranny of the minds and hearts of men until all is “open and laid bare”. Then – redemption.
The Apostle Paul sums up Dad’s message in the most compelling statement:
12″For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And before Him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” ~ Hebrews 4:12-13 (Dad’s NT Bible)
Paul points out that God’s works were finished from the foundation of the world. Then He rested on the seventh day (Sabbath). God intended for man to enter into that rest with Him, but man rebelled (Heb. 4:1-5). Without accepting God’s plan of redemption through faith in Jesus , man may never enter God’s rest. Without acknowledging his sin, and accepting Jesus as Messiah, man is eternally barred from entering into an everlasting relationship with his Creator.
BUT GOD! In His infinite mercy and grace, God provided His living Word as a testament to His abiding love for all men. He made a plan for redemption. His Son fulfilled the Father’s plan on the cross. Christ defeated death, and God gave His Living Word to proclaim the Good News to let men know about it.
again He sets a certain day, “Today”, saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” ~ Hebrews 4:7 (Dad’s NT Bible)
I thank and praise God for laying my sins bare. His living Word pursued me like a Lion. It found my hidden parts; then pierced my mind and heart, dividing me asunder. I give Him glory everlasting and thank Him for allowing me to strive for rest in Him. When I get discouraged it’s usually because I have spent too much time caught up in the “cares of this world” with less time in God’s Word. Those distractions cause me to be fruitless, while choking God’s Word (Mark 4:18-19).
So here is the last part of the message of encouragement that Dad marked at the bottom of page 381:
Relate: The miracle isn’t complete until the change takes place. Before talking about Bartimaeus I want to talk about another miracle Jesus performed. He came upon ten lepers who asked Him for healing. Jesus told those men to go to the priest and perform the ceremony (mentioned here) for those who have been cleansed from infectious skin diseases. Now Luke is very clear to let us know that those lepers were cleansed and healed. After this healing, only one of those ten men came back to Jesus to thank Him. When this former leper met Jesus, the Master said to him, “Rise and go. Your faith has made you well.”
“22But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror: 24for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.” ~ James 1:22-25 (Dad’s NT Bible)
What does a “doer of the Word” look like? A good picture could be found in Matthew chapter 11. John the Baptist was imprisoned by King Herod and sent two of his disciples to Jesus:
3to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” ~ Matthew 11:3-6 (NIV)
So, do what Jesus did. He lived the Father’s plan for His life on earth. He didn’t just read the redemption plan up in heaven and never came to earth to fulfill it. Believers are to live out God’s plan for them in the same way; not just read about it in His Word.
A hearer of the Word remembers to look at himself in the mirror every morning but forgets the Word as soon as he leaves the house. A “doer of the Word” forgets to look in the mirror in the morning but remembers the Word as soon as he leaves the house – and does it.
What does it take to be a “doer that acts”? Faith that is genuine. Even though Dad may have become discouraged in his walk with Christ, his faith was genuine. He has been gone for almost 40 years but neighbors still mention him not as just a “good guy”, but as a man who lived for God. Some still don’t believe in Jesus, but they respect Dad for showing that he did.
The great news is that a doer of the Word shall be blessed in his doing!
6 “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy ,9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” ~ 1 Peter 1:6-10 (NIV)
Encouragement – “see pg 381” is the last notations from Dad in his NT Bible and contains the most important message that he personally left in my keepsake from him on encouragement.
9 All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of their gods foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, “It is true.” 10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. 11 I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no Savior. ~ Isaiah 43:9-11 (NIV)