Keeping Out The World
A ship is made to be in the water, so the task is not to keep the ship out of water but rather to keep water out of the ship. The same is true with us. The world is our normal element which we were made to live in, so the problem is not how to keep us out of the world, but how to keep the world out of us.
Cares, worries, anxieties, and problems are all around. When we open our hearts to Christ, he does not make them go away, but he will keep them from entering the soul and bringing down your life.
Living To Serve
“The Son of man came not to be served, but to serve” —Jesus
True life is ministry, People tend to think that they rise in this world by getting away from service, but the opposite is true. No person really begins to live at all, in any worthwhile sense, until selfishness dies. We should not be asking ourselves how we can use other people to advance our own interests and well-being, but how can we do good for them, serve them, and in some way be a blessing to them.
Be A Happiness-Maker
Stay at the feet of Christ until your heart overflows with love for everyone — even people whom you do not like. Then begin to think about them and live for them. Christ was always making people happy. You too can scatter happiness and grace as a flower scatters fragrance. It is a wonderful thing to put gladness and joy into the heart of another person.
Appreciation Too Late
We should not need night to come before we see how wonderful the day was. We should not need sorrow to fall upon us before coming to appreciate the joy in our lives. But it is true that too often we come to learn the true values in our lives only after they have been lost. Too often an empty chair teaches the worth of friendship. O that we could learn to appreciate our good things while we have them. Then we could have joy, and not just the dull pain of regret while looking back at blessings which are gone.
Comfort In Prayer
Though many Biblical editors choose to leave out the sentence, it is one which teaches us better than any the depths of human sorrow, and how to find comfort in times of deep sorrow and pain. There was a tremendous amount of “grief” which lay upon Jesus the night of his arrest. As he prayed in Gethsemane, we watch his agony and bitterness leave, and peace take their place.
What we learn from watching this is that there is no other place to go but prayer. Then, what is more, we also learn how to pray. God will never blame us for asking to have the cup removed, nor will he get defensive over the intensity of our asking. But what we must do is always pray with submission. It is when we finally say: “Not my will, but yours…” that comfort comes and the blessings of peace descend upon us.
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.” -Luke 22:44
If We Knew
We should look at the faults of others only through love’s eyes — with charity, patience, and compassion. We do not know the history of people around us. We do not know what scars mark another’s soul. We do not know the pains which make life hard for some with whom we are tempted to be impatient. If we knew all of the secret burdens, and all of the hidden wounds which are carried below a smiling face, we would be more gentle.
Love’s Pure Moments
Love, in its best moments, does not stop at doing a little. It does not calculate what it will get back; it does not analyze the pros and the cons; it does not measure what it gives against what it receives. It simply thinks the highest and works for the best of another.
If our love for Christ was stronger, deeper, richer, and truer, we would not calculate so closely how much we can afford to give or do. Neither would we consider what we get out of the relationship.
“Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair;…But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples…said, ‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’” (John 12:3-4) Those who do not love also do not get it…
People are tempted to be jealous and upset when viewing what other people have, as compared to themselves. If you tend to do that, think of Jesus. With all of his great power and his rich life, he never lived anywhere, or possessed anything which fit his “exalted character.”
If you can do nothing but live a true Christian life — patient, gentle, kind, pure; whether in your family, out in society, or at your work, you will perform a great service to the world and leave behind many blessings. Such a life is the Gospel, telling in sermons without words, the wonderful story or Jesus.
God May Forgive, But…
Though our sins are forgiven by God, the penalties imposed by this world for our sins may afflict us through life. God may choose to remember our wrongs no more, but the effect we have on those who surround us in this world, and the effect which the world has on us in return, are things which may be borne by us to the end of our days. Christians often believe that if our sins have been forgiven then all is forgotten and there are no further consequences to our actions. But that is not always so – nor should it be.
“The sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me.” —II Samuel 12:10
Living The Life
“How do we win others for Christ?” is an old question. The answer is surprisingly simple — by being Christ to them. By showing others Christ in ourselves; by living so that others may be attracted to Christ; by carrying self in such a way that someone else may be attracted to Christ by what they see in you. Words are powerful, but what is seen speaks louder still.