Justified

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:39-41 NIV)

We each sit condemned of the sins we have committed. However, Christ hung on the cross to deem us justified to enter heaven.

Some will see and hear, but some like the first criminal will turn away. And God gives us this right. First right of refusal (or acceptance).

But once justified, we have a job to do. Because others cannot even begin to accept or refuse until they have heard. Heard that God loves them and wants them to accept Christ a savior.

Many will see and hear.

Workers are Few

37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. (Matthew 9:37 NIV)

My daughter and her husband will soon be headed to the mission field….very far away. They have been called to a corner of the earth that can be…volatile. I am proud, but I am fearful.

However, as the scripture says the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

Being involved in ministry and in business I experience this on two levels. The average worker puts in far less time than they book on a calendar. I spend so much time in meetings I often feel this way as well.

However, business moves forward. Ministry can grind to a halt quickly if we do not do our part. As I noted recently, deeds and faith are tied inexorably together.

Actions

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. (James 2:18 NIV)

Actions speak louder tha words. Do our actions show that we are people of faith or people without faith. This goes beyond merely doing good things but deeper into our motivation for what we do.

If all we do points back to ourselves then we know our actions are prideful. If our actions point outward (more importantly upward) then our faith and our deeds are in sync.

Higher

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9 NIV)

Our vision, our insight, is limited to the here and now. We may have a feeling about the future or how something “should” work out, but we have no real knowledge of these things.

God’s thoughts and ways are higher than our own. As such, the reasoning why a thing happens we may not understand for quite some time if ever.

However, every aspect of our lives is meant to plant something in our soul. Thus, we must look higher than our own understanding to acceptance of God’s ways.

Weakness

10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV)

When we are weak Christ is able to work through us. When we are strong, often, our pride gets in the way. Knowing ourselves well enough to understand the difference is the key.

When we allow our accomplishments to get in the way of Christ working through us we need to accept this too as a weakness. In these instances we allow pride to creep in and everything becomes about us.

By pushing back on pride and pointing toward the One who makes everything possible we acknowledge these things happen for God’s purpose. No by our hand, but by His.

Discipline

7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)

He who lives without discipline dies without honor. (The Havamal)

We all recognize the value of having discipline in our lives. However, how often we allow ourselves to just live on autopilot. We do not employ any discipline to move toward a goal, we simply exist.

This may be ok for a while, but should not be a recipe for life. Instilling some level of discipline in our lives gives us power over our lives.

All Your Heart

5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV)

Happy Mother’s Day!

When we think about our mothers, typically, there is a soft spot in our hearts for her. We love our dads too, but mothers let’s face it are… special.

They tend to love with all their heart, soul and strength.

This love molds us and shapes us into the people we tend to become. They provide an example of love that is different than fathers. So we often pattern our love from our mothers. So to should we love God, with all of our heart, soul and strength.