reward

Choose Jesus

If you have the ability to read and understand this right now, then by the time your life is over you are going to be a person who has the ability to make no less than a million choices. That’s right; I mean what I say!

Have you ever thought about how many choices you make a day? From the time you chose to get up this morning to the time that you will choose to go to bed tonight and everywhere in between you’re making choices. Some choices will only affect you, some choices will affect those closest to you like family and friends, and some choices will even affect strangers that you may never meet.

What makes us choose the choices we make? How often do we make choices because we have chosen Jesus?

On multiple occasions Jesus urged His follower’s to choose wisely (John 8:24-32). He encouraged them to choose a heavenly reward over an earthly one (Matthew 6:19-24). He encouraged them to choose the narrow way over the broad (Matthew 7:13-14). He encouraged them to choose courage over fear (Matthew 10:28-33). He encouraged them to choose faith over family (Matthew 10:34-39). He encouraged them to choose forgiveness over anger (Matthew 18:21-35). He encouraged them to choose Him (Matthew 11:28-30).

Why choose Jesus? Because there’s no other choice that makes sense – because there’s no one better to choose (Matthew 16:21-27; John 6:66-69). EA

Don’t Leave it up to “Good Fortune”

Things like horoscopes make me laugh. I mean come on, how many different ways can you say the same thing? One close cousin of the horoscope that also makes me laugh is the fortune cookie. What a combination! Good news every time and lottery numbers to boot! Have you ever wondered why your cookie never says, “You are going to win the lottery!” But anyways, despite the silly sayings that most fortune cookies contain, I got one not too long ago that made me smile. It said, “You will receive some high prize or award.” When I read that I thought to myself, “Hey, now there is one I can agree with” and it’s not because of my good fortune, it’s because of my faith.

Concerning his desire to live beyond the grave Paul said, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Now what is part of that prize and why could he confidently expect to receive it?

We have one answer in 2 Timothy 4:7,8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Paul did not rely on good fortune to receive a high prize or award. He did not leave it up to chance. He relied on his willingness to endure to the end. He relied on the promise of God made through the faith that was revealed through Jesus Christ. He relied on the grace of the only Righteous Judge that would give him that prize/award.

Christians are called to have the same mindset as Paul (1 Corinthians 11:1 & Philippians 3:15). We must strive to be like the apostle in our confidence in Christ and in our salvation; but this type of confidence will not be found in a cookie. It only comes from a right relationship with our Creator and Savior based on His directions found in His word (Romans 1:16,17, 10:17; Hebrews 8:10-12).  EA

Can You Keep A Secret?

The above title is not talking about the, “Psst…hey, can I tell you something” kind of secret. This connotation is a lot more positive. Although I am sure he was not the first person to say something like this, Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.” That is a neat little saying that leads to an interesting little question. Have you ever had anyone begin to give you credit for something that you did not do? Did you correct them or did you let them continue to give you credit for the deed that was done? The answer to that has the possibility to lead to a lot more questions, eh? But on the flip side, have you ever been in the position where you could have taken the credit for something that you actually did but you passed on the spotlight?

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with receiving credit for a good deed or a job well done but when a person has the ability to do something good for a fellow neighbor and they are able to keep it quite, that person is getting a reward that has more benefits than the outward recognition. It’s the reward that helps to shape a giving character and a caring heart in the sight of God.

King Solomon finished the great book of Ecclesiastes by reminding his readers about a fact that is both sobering and satisfying, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14) While most of us tend to think about the negative side of that scripture (and never should we neglect the truth it teaches), the positive side of it can be just as strong and encouraging! (more…)