Do it Now

Agree with your adversary quickly . . . —Matthew 5:25

This is a tough verse, especially for a trial lawyer. We are trained to never agree with an adversary. We are focused on exercising our “rights.” As lawyers we are not alone in this. With every disaster the ads quickly appear advising us that we might have a claim. There has been an explosion of “rights.” We have moved from  have a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to believing we have a right to “a happy and stress free life.” 
It is a lost art to see things for another’s point of view. Even when we “know” we are not in the right, it is our inclination to insist on our position.
When we don’t immediately acknowledge that our opponent is right, we dig ourselves into a hole. Animosity rises and grows with each passing moment.
Are there relationships in your life that are suffering from a long-standing “rights” battle? Have you determined that you will never give in? Give it up and do it now. Moreover, pledge to not dig yourself into that hole again. Acknowledge what is right instantly. You will save yourself much wasted energy.
Put right before rights and be blessed.
Nick

The Strictest Discipline

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell —Matthew 5:30

Is there something in your life, that appears harmless, yet continues to lead you into sin? Maybe it’s your television habit, or a “friend” or a “watering hole” on your way home.  Then, would it not be better to remove this from your life.
Jesus did not say that everyone must cut off his right hand, but that “if your right hand causes you to sin” in your walk with Him, then it is better to “cut it off.” There are many things that are perfectly legitimate, but if you are going to concentrate on God you cannot do them. Your right hand is one of the best things you have, but Jesus says that if it hinders you in following His precepts, then “cut it off.” The principle taught here is the strictest discipline or lesson that ever hit humankind.
Lord, grant us a dedication to You and Your purposes that will motivate us to clean our lives of all that distracts or entangles. That we may be the blessing You created us to be.
Nick

Held by the Grip of God

I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me —Philippians 3:12

Perhaps you have know folks like my old friend. I remember him as a great dreamer. Every time I would see him, he would have grand plans. He never accomplished any of them. Some of us are “What Might Have Been” types. We consider that our best day are past and we will never do anything great. Others of us are “My Day will come” types. We believe that someday; we will do something great.
We are only given today. Yesterday Pastor Kerry focused on this verse:
1 Chronicles 28:20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.
 I like this modern translation:
20-21 David continued to address Solomon: “Take charge! Take heart! Don’t be anxious or get discouraged. God, my God, is with you in this; he won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch. He’s at your side until every last detail is completed for conducting the worship of God.

We are never lacking for ideals. What we lack is action. I greatly admire those of our number who are on the mission field this week. They may discover that such work is not for them. They may learn that their ministry is elsewhere. They may discover they were meant to serve at that very orphanage. But all of that will be secondary. They will have done something TODAY.
Never choose to be a worker for God, but once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you “turn aside to the right hand or to the left” ( Deuteronomy 5:32  ). We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has “laid hold of” us. And once He has done so, we never have this thought, “Well, I’m really not suited for this.” 
Don’t be concerned about what you missed doing yesterday. Don’t worry about what you will do tomorrow. There is a call on your life for today. What is it? Then DO IT.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do. . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” ( Philippians 3:13-14  ).

Press on TODAY.

Be blessed.

Nick

Overshadowing of God’s Personal Deliverance

. . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord —Jeremiah 1:8

We have a mission to complete for our Lord. Like any good boss, God frees us from other distractions so that we can properly focus on His work. This is his promise to deliver us. This is the peace which surpasses all understanding, guarding our hearts and minds in Christ. We must take advantage of this deliverance to do what are called to do.
God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah 39:18  ). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. A large portion of our deliverance is that our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress.If we don’t have the right attitude about the “things” which we are given, they enslave us rather than bless us.

We are also called to be free from demands for our “rights.” We are not called to be on an unending campaign for what we are due. The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it.

Lord deliver us from our possessions and our obsession with our rights that we may be free to do what you have called us to do and be what you have called us to be.

Be blessed.

Nick

Drawing on the Grace of God Now

We . . . plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain —2 Corinthians 6:1

Our outreach team leaves tomorrow for Guatemala. Please have them in prayer. Let’s pray they will learn anew to draw freely on the grace of God this week.
We have a constantly available source of power and support and we seldom use it. It is the grace of our Lord. Grace is more than forgiveness of sin. It is power to live today.
The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now
Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now
Lord, bless and protect our team headed out tomorrow. Surround them with your angels and teach them by drawing them closer to you than ever before.
 Be blessed.
Nick

Receiving Yourself in the Fires of Sorrow

. . . what shall I say? ’Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. ’Father, glorify Your name’ —John 12:27-28

We ask God to “make us, mold us.” He does so in the fires of sorrow. We should not seek to avoid sorrow, but seek the protection of our Savior in sorrow.
Our Lord received Himself, accepting His position and realizing His purpose, in the midst of the fire of sorrow. He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.
Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be. Sin, sorrow, and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.
If we honestly trace our spiritual growth, we find the periods of true growth were periods of sorrow. When times are good, we assume they are so because of something we did. When times are ordinary, we do not see the forming hand of God at work.
Oh Lord, we know in our life there will be sorrow. Bless us with the knowledge of your active presence in those times and do mold and shape us into what You would have us be. We know that in being fully yours is full blessing.
In Jesus’ Name.
Nick

Reconciling Yourself to the Fact of Sin

This is your hour, and the power of darkness —Luke 22:53

Once, years ago, I travelled to Jakarta, Indonesia, on business. I have at no other time felt such a sense of the existence of pure evil. I have felt it other times, in fact, often, but never like that.
You don’t have to live too long in this world  or watch much tv to come to the conclusion that there are dark forces out there. We have to be careful not to give those forces too much credit but it would be foolish not to acknowledge they exist and have some affect.
Failing to make that recognition and calling it what it is: sin. Is the cause of disaster. If we call it just “the devil” then we fail to recognize the personal nature of it and the possibility of it having affect in our lives. Not recognizing it in others can cause us to make disastrous mistakes in our personal relationships. 
If we reconcile to the fact of sin, we can see sin and call it what it is. We can separate sin from sinner and hate the right one. We can be constantly reminded that a life  based on sin is no life at all. 
Because of sin, we should not trust human nature. Because of Christ, we should live in faith and without fear.
The pure man or woman is the one who is shielded from harm, not the innocent person. The so-called innocent man or woman is never safe. Men and women have no business trying to be innocent; God demands that they be pure and virtuous. Innocence is the characteristic of a child. Purity is the characteristic of the saved who recognizes his nature and trusts Christ to redeem it.
There is sin and Jesus has defeated it. What more do we need to know and under what other truths should we operate?
Nick

Acquainted with Grief

He is . . . a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief —Isaiah 53:3

Most of us have “experienced” grief. We have lost a loved one or a job. We have been hurt by a word or a shun. However, we are not “acquainted with grief” in the same way our Lord was acquainted with it. We endure it and live through it, but we do not become intimate with it. 
Real grief is associated with sin. We have to recognize that sin is a fact of life, not just a shortcoming. Sin is blatant mutiny against God, and either sin or God must die in my life. The New Testament brings us right down to this one issue— if sin rules in me, God’s life in me will be killed; if God rules in me, sin in me will be killed. There is nothing more fundamental than that. The culmination of sin was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and what was true in the history of God on earth will also be true in your history and in mine— that is, sin will kill the life of God in us. We must mentally bring ourselves to terms with this fact of sin. It is the only explanation why Jesus Christ came to earth, and it is the explanation of the grief and sorrow of life.
Our Savior became not just acquainted with the grief of sin, but with the grief of all sin, including yours and mine. Abide and Him and sin will die and we will, finally fully live.
Be blessed.
Nick