Dangerous Comfort

Revelation 3:15-17 -“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”  (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Being lukewarm is dangerous because it is deceptive. We know when we are on fire for God and we know when we are in outright rebellion. Lukewarm is comfortable and harder to detect. We need to periodically take a spiritual inventory to make sure we have not become complacent in our faith.

My Advice – Becoming a lukewarm Christian is often a greater danger than growing cold. Many times this occurs when we grow comfortable in life. So as your career becomes successful and provides you with wealth and comfort, be doubly on guard against a cooling in your relationship with Christ.

Who Can We Trust?

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Jeremiah 17:7-9 – “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (NIV 1984)

My Musings – God is trustworthy.  Like a tree planted by a stream that provides a constant (never-failing) source of water.  The tree has no fear of the things it normally should fear (heat and drought), and that experience should have taught it to fear.  Why? Because the stream (our “Living Water”) has never failed it, even in such difficult times.

So if God is trustworthy, why are we so often incapable of trusting Him?  Not because of His failings, but because of our hearts.  This text states that “the heart [by nature] is deceitful above all things and beyond cure [absent God’s intervention, of course].”  Because it is in our nature to break trusts (deceive), we find it difficult to understand someone who by His very nature is incapable of deceit or of being untrustworthy.  Because of our nature we are very suspicious, wondering when He is going to pull that proverbial chair out from under us (because often enough, that is what we would do).

And we tend to think, because He has not always answered us in ways we think He should or when we think He should, that these are instances of when He has broken trust and failed us. It is easier for us to believe He failed us (was untrustworthy), than to believe that He has something better, or that the timing is not right, or that it was actually us who failed Him.  In so doing we are measuring Him by our standards, when His ways are higher than ours and His thoughts are higher than ours.

My Advice – “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known [trustworthy] God” ― Corrie ten Boom.  For the true measure of trust is to continue trusting, even when circumstances appear to indicate that the trust has been violated.  Don’t trust the circumstances.  Trust the God who you know will never break trust.

 

When Compassion Becomes A Verb

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Judges 2:18For the Lord had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Webster says that compassion is a noun and defines it as the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, however, asserts that “compassion is a verb.”  As such, it is not merely a desire to alleviate another’s distress (“those who are oppressed and afflicted“), but actually taking action to do what we can to alleviate it.

But God demonstrates his own love [compassion] for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV 1984)  This was the ultimate expression of compassion.

My Advice – Let’s do what we can to “pay it forward.”  While it is a rare event when someone is called upon to give their life for another, each one of us encounter numerous opportunities everyday to lighten the burden of someone else.  When we ignore these opportunities, compassion remains a mere noun.  We need to make it a verb by taking action. “As long as you are standing, give a hand [verb] to those who have fallen.” ― Persian Proverb

 

 

Is Your Reputation Real?

Revelation 3:1-2 – “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up!” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Our faith must be more than reputation, it must be reality. It must be more than outward appearance.

My Advice – Don’t build a Godly reputation without building a Godly relationship.

What Do You Tolerate?

Revelation 2:19-20 – “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against: You tolerate.…” (NIV 1978)

My Musing – This is an age where tolerance is considered a virtue. And in certain cases it may be. But not where the tolerance is for immorality or religious teachings that deny Christ or teach another path to God.

My Advice – Tolerance sounds admirable, but be careful of what you tolerate.

Remain True

Revelation 2:13 – “I know where you live-where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to My name.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – No matter how unGodly our environment (where we live, where we work), we have the ability to remain true to God and be a reflection of His light in a dark world.

My Advice – Watch yourself in your job. There may be practices that are more consistent with the devil’s work than with God’s. Despite this, remain true to His name.