“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15
What’s with celebrities? The last few years have been littered with famous people behaving badly . . .
In the 2007 World Cup games, the planet’s best soccer player ends the game by head-butting his opponent on global TV. In 2006, an NFL hunk of a guy intentionally stomps on an opposing player’s helmet-less head leaving gashes worthy of 30-some stitches. My prized Chicago Bears have a defensive back who has been arrested three times in the last 18 months. And what’s with the trashy antics of Britney Spears? And the drunkenness, drug taking, and public kissing of another woman that Miss USA favored us with?
I’m not a real uptight person. I have a pretty wide berth for weirdness and foolish behavior. I guess I’ve seen enough of it in my own life and have come to believe that if we knew the extent of the fall we would be surprised that anything good happens at all. But this is ridiculous!
And, while I’m in this mood, what’s with the tabloids that grab our attention while we are waiting in the grocery line? Who are these people who have been caught naked by a hiding photographer at some secluded beach? and who cares who’s getting divorced, sleeping with someone’s best friend, or having another baby out of wedlock?
But that’s just it, isn’t it?! Lots of people seem to care. They find it all interesting and stimulating. That’s why this stuff sells. All this behaving badly tickles the public fancy, grabs headlines, and fills up tons of minutes on talk shows. Which leaves me wondering . . . Isn’t there anything more important for us to be taken with, for us to talk about? Where have all the really cool heroes gone?
I hate to sound like I am above it all and on to better things—which would come across as arrogant and judgmental—so forgive me. That’s not my intention. But there is a great alternative to cohabiting in the sludge of the seamy side of life.
I find that living and thinking in the world of God’s Word, God’s ways, and God’s will is like fresh air to my soul. And I do in fact have a Hero who after all these years I find to still be compelling, amazing, adventuresome, challenging, and worthy of my praise and admiration. Today, Jesus is more wonderful to me than He has ever been before!
I don’t want to live with a pointed finger at a world that seems to be spinning out of control with no moral compass. What our wild world needs is not another self-righteous declaration of how terrible it all is. After all, what do we expect from people who without Jesus are left to their own desires and instincts? What I want is to get my life in gear with the solid stuff that keeps my heart intrigued with the pure fresh water of God’s Word and to walk the path of life that Jesus walks, to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
My heart beats with Joshua, who in the midst of lots of sordid pagan options declared, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” And like Jesus, I want to remember to love and care for sinners. What our world really needs is the life-changing power of a new life in Jesus. So that will be my prayer!
- What is your reaction to news about celebs? Are you intrigued? Self-righteous? Disgusted? Ask the Lord to turn your heart toward prayer for those who need the life-changing power of new life in Him.
- What do you admire about your heroes? What do you admire the most about Jesus?
- Read Philippians 4:8, and do what it says! Next time you’re tempted to indulge in the toxic stuff of this world, choose instead to feed your mind on things are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy!
“Look at the birds of the air . . .” (Matthew 6:26). Their function is to obey the instincts God placed within them, and God watches over them. Jesus said that if you have the right relationship with Him and will obey His Spirit within you, then God will care for your “feathers” too.
“Consider the lilies of the field . . .” (Matthew 6:28). They grow where they are planted. Many of us refuse to grow where God plants us. Therefore, we don’t take root anywhere. Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the “much more” He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him? Consecration is the act of continually separating myself from everything except that which God has appointed me to do. It is not a one-time experience but an ongoing process. Am I continually separating myself and looking to God every day of my life?
“Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right”—Psalm 106:3
In Psalm 106 we read, “Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” When translated from the original Hebrew, literally, it reads, “Blessed are those . . . who always perform acts of charity.” Indeed, this is the traditional Jewish understanding of the verse.
But we must ask: How is it possible to be engaged in acts of charity all of the time? Certainly the average person needs time for his or her self – to eat, to sleep, to relax, and so forth.
I once heard a story about a man who was asked what his wife does. He replied, “She takes care of kids who have no other home. She feeds them, bathes them, and takes care of them. She also spends her own money on the things they need.” After the man stopped speaking and the listener looked impressed, he added, “By the way, the kids happen to be our own.” Then he was quiet as if to say: “Should that really matter?”
The point that this man was trying to make is that acts of kindness are relative. I can take care of my kids, and it can be completely selfish – if I do it out of a desire to make myself feel good and for my kids to make me look good. Or, I can take care of my kids and it is an incredible act of kindness – I care for them out of sincere concern for their well-being and I do it with love. It’s all in how we see it.
Along those lines, this verse teaches us that, with the right perspective, everything we do can be turned into acts of charity and kindness, including taking care of our own children. It all depends on how and why we do what we do. Even taking care of our own self can be kindness if our ultimate goal is to better serve others.
Do I eat to indulge in pleasure, or to give my body energy in order to help others? Do I sleep in order to indulge in laziness, or to be able to wake up refreshed, ready to serve the Lord? When our ultimate goal is to help others, everything we do – even the things we do for ourselves – is counted by God as an act of charity. Indeed, it is possible to be engaged in kindness all of the time!
What are you doing today? Or more importantly, why? Make your goal to help others. If you earn money, share it. If you relax and re-energize in the morning, help someone out in the afternoon. You can transform every single moment of the day into an act of charity and love. You can do what is right.
When Jehovah took up Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind, he was going with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for Jehovah has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.
Then the followers of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and said, “Do you know that to-day Jehovah will take away your master from you?” He said, “Yes, I know it; say no more.” And Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here, for Jehovah has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho.
Then the followers of the prophets at Jericho came near to Elisha and said, “Do you know that to-day Jehovah will take your master from you?” He answered, “Yes, I know it; say no more.” And Elijah said to him, “Stay here, for Jehovah has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they both went on.
Fifty followers of the prophets stood opposite them at a distance, while they two stood by the Jordan. Then Elijah rolled up his mantle and with it struck the waters; and they were divided, so that they two went over on dry ground. When they had gone over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” He replied, “You have asked what is difficult; but if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall come to you; but if you do not, it shall not come.”
As they were going on their way talking, a fiery chariot with horses of fire suddenly came and separated the two; and Elijah went up in a whirlwind to heaven. When Elisha saw it, he cried, “My father, my father! the chariots and the horsemen of Israel!” And he saw Elijah no more, but he took hold of his own robes and tore them in two. Then he took up the mantle that had fallen from Elijah.
On this incident the writer to the Hebrews founds the impressive lesson, that the choices of the past may cast a bitter and irrevocable shadow on all our future. When he afterward desired to inherit blessing he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears (Heb 12:16, Heb 12:17, R. V.).
Beware of the cravings of appetite. – In an evil moment Esau yielded to these, and sold his birthright to secure their gratification; he found afterward that the choice made in that hour was irrevocable. How needful that we watch and pray, lest we fall into temptation!
There are four facts which, when borne in mind, guard us against the sudden oversetting of passionate appetite.
We are called on to reckon ourselves dead in sin. – The nearer we live to God, the more sensitive we shall be to the most distant suggestion of evil, closing doors and windows against its entrance, reckoning ourselves “not at home” to it, and yielding our members as instruments of righteousness unto God.