Titus 3:8 “I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”
Paul isn’t telling us that good works saves us, as he clears that up earlier in Titus 3:4-5. He does, however, reminds us that since we are part of the human race living along side of each other, working both in and for God’s Kingdom, we ought to be “already” mindset’ed. That is to say focusing attention on people around us (Paul calls this “excellent and profitable”) instead of solely “not yet” mindset’ed, focusing on the heavenly reward.
You have heard it said that “it’s not about the destination but the journey”. What are we doing today to make the journey for others a better place?
1 Samuel 17:37“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
We all will face giants at one time or another in our lives. We try to defeat these giants. It could be a giant of fear. It might be a giant of some type of personal sin that you fall into again and again. It might be the sin of pride, envy, lust or something else. Your giant might be one of addiction, something that has a grip on your life.
How do we deal with giants? The answer is in the Old Testament account of David and Goliath.
David boldly defeated the giant Goliath, armed only with a slingshot and five stones. The will of the Philistines was broken. The Israelites were reinvigorated. And it was all because a shepherd boy answered the call of God and cut down the giant.
What can we learn from this story about facing off with our own giants in life?
First, recognize that we all have giants. We all face severe hardships, seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We all have problems.
Second, realize that the battle belongs to the Lord. David told Goliath, “For the battle is the Lord‘s, and he will give you into our hand.” (1 Samuel 17:47). That is why giants defeat us again and again, because we face them in our own strength and we lose. We need to realize this is the Lord’s battle.
Finally, trust in the Lord. Don’t look at God in the light of your giant. Instead, look at your giant in the light of God.
John 15:13“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
On May 30, 1868, a crowd of 5,000 gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for the first Decoration Day exercises. Before strewing flowers upon the graves of the dead, the crowd listened to an address by James A. Garfield (1831–81), then an Ohio congressman who had also served as a major general in the Civil War. In this first of such annual addresses at Arlington National Cemetery, Garfield, who in 1881 would become the 20th president of the United States, sets a standard by explaining what Decoration Day is all about and why it should be commemorated?
“I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept; plighted faith may be broken; and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue. For the noblest man that lives, there still remains a conflict. He must still withstand the assaults of time and fortune, must still be assailed with temptations, before which lofty natures have fallen; but with these the conflict ended, the victory was won, when death stamped on them the great seal of heroic character, and closed a record which years can never blot.”
Zephaniah 3:17“The Lord your God is in your midst, mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
He cannot contain Himself of the thought of you and with the greatest of joy spins around wildly in anticipation over you and has placed you above all other creations and in the highest place in His priorities. In fact He shouts and sings in triumph, joyfully proclaiming the gladness of His heart in a song of rejoicing.
Isaiah 41:10“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The Lord is with us we need not fear. His presence guarantees strength to endure every trial, to bear up courageously under all suffering, persecution and affliction. God with us assures that we are never without help. The God of no limits is ever present to help when we have reached the end of our proverbial ropes.
Finally, God upholds us with His mighty power. When our own strength is small and spent, when we fall and have no might to raise ourselves up, the loving Lord reaches down His powerful right hand and lifts us. As long as we confidently know that God is with us, we can boldly proclaim, “I am not afraid; my God is ever with me! I am anxious for nothing; the Lord is my God!”
Psalm 27:1“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Luke 24:36-40“As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you!’ But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.”
What are those things bringing chaos or doubt into your life? The ultimate doubt and chaos for Jesus’ disciples was “what’s next”. How many times have we tried to “give it up”, “let it go” or “get over it” one for time? What’s next?
Jesus tells is disciples not to be troubled and not to doubt. He simply showed himself and said “touch me”.
Today is an opportunity to reach out and experience His grace, mercy, love and care. Doubt? Reach out.
Galatians 2:20“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
We have the chance to emulate the character of Christ in us. Christ is an example to follow in life; when trials and tribulations come, when we feel discouraged when life is unjust, we should consider the sacrifice that Jesus has underwent.
Psalm 18:2“TheLordis myrock and myfortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” The ever present God is our fortress, a source of strength and cheer. With Him we can meet life’s challenges triumphantly.