Be Encouraged 12/6/17

by Angela Collier

Out of respect for Jesus, whom I love more than anyone (as it should be), there is plenty out there for a believer to get mixed up in that would go against conscience and explicitly against His will. Out of love for not just a Savior but my King, may I not cross certain lines, lest I spit in the face of the One treasured most. When I’m tempted to do something REALLY bad, (something beyond my continual struggle of cussing), I ponder everything God has done. How can I purposely set out to do a wrong thing knowing how much He loves us and every good thing in our lives is from His hand? ‘Tis the season of Christmas trees (some tackier than others), nativity scenes (with or without the Wise Men) and the mailing of greeting cards (which hopefully is keeping our beloved Petra busy at the Post Office and FYI she likes Pepsi and Dunkin Donuts coffee; Hazelnut or French Vanilla…hint hint).

Many have a “head” knowledge of the baby Jesus born by a virgin Mary, who suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified & buried for our sins and rose on the third day (Easter)…etc. Many have heard of John 3:16…”For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life…” Sure, lots of folks know of baby Jesus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they KNOW Him. Our baby King grew up and He now sits at the right hand of our Heavenly Father. When He returns and the sorry lot of us all, stand before Him, many will say that they know Him. He is going to look at some, laugh (but it won’t be too funny) and tell them to take a hike and go to hell…which will really mean…go-to-hell. Sitting in church on Sunday, having a Jesus T-shirt or bumper sticker is not what it’s about. Church is important, and should not be down played, but lots of folks sitting in those pews will not spend eternity with Him. Plenty of believers aren’t in church and plenty of us are particular about our clothing and bumper stickers. What will be evident in a true believer of Jesus and what will separate the sheep from the goats on judgement day are the fruits of their belief. It will have nothing to do with legalism or living by a man made standard of holiness but will always, always, always, always come down to issues of the heart and His standard. When we truly blow it, are we sorrowful? Do we apologize? Truly repent and go another way? Or do we laugh and pat ourselves on the back?

We talk and joke about Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” list, but true believers will never delight or relish in breaking God’s heart and causing others pain. At home, did we love our spouse and kids? Did we care more about their well being and prosperity than personal ambition? Did we love our coworkers or busily try to run them in the ground? Did we work with integrity for those that pay our salary? Did we stick up for the bullied kid at school? Were we noble teachers that left a golden mark on hearts or did we take pleasure in breaking the spirit of our pupils? These are real issues that are heavy hitters, seriously important to Jesus. Did you care about the inmate? The orphan? Widow? Did you care for the sick? The dying? Did you love Jesus more than pop culture? Did you stand for truth or did you back the corrupt?

The motivation for why we do something or abstain should be so deeply routed in our love for God, that we naturally cause the world to be a better place. We will naturally shine bright in a dark world. Be blessed this week! Choose wisely! Choose from a heart of love! God is good! Always!

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