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With All Your Heart

Jesus deserves energetic and enthusiastic followers. You have friends awaiting an example of an exuberant follower of Jesus. You are the best Christian somebody knows.

Are you regressive and depressive – or – aggressive and expressive?

Before the completion of the New Testament texts, people were won to faith in Christ and faithfully followed Him not because of a passage of stirring Scripture, but because of a person of spiritual stability. They still are.

Un-cowering and uncompromising confidence in and commitment to Jesus attracted others to Him. It still does.

In Colossians 3: 23 we have a main vein of Spiritual truth. It speaks of – – – action. “Whatsoever you DO…”.

Our Lord has established certain goals and standards of things for us to do in order to prove to ourselves and demonstrate to others our devotion to Him.

From a secular world view comes the spiritual nugget of truth spoken by legendary football coach Vince Lombardi: “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor.”

That is Colossians 3: 23 applied.

Whatever you do be certain to do it as to the Lord and do it with feeling. Be enthusiastic.

Knowing the derivation of the word enthusiasm helps. It comes from two Greek words. The prefix ‘en” means “within.” The Greek word “theos” means “God.” Enthusiasm means “the God within.” When Jesus is the God within your enthusiasm it is in direct proportion to the extent of control He is allowed over your life.

Historian Arnold Toynbee said, “Apathy can only be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: an ideal which takes the imagination by storm, and a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.”

When devotion to Jesus takes your imagination by storm, prayerfully seek His will regarding His plan for you to carry it out daily.

Enthusiasm is faith that has been set on fire.

Everybody Talkin’ Bout Heaven

Some old songs used catchy phrases to communicate profound truths. “Everybody Talkin’ ’Bout Heaven” by Acappella serves as a powerful reminder not to merely talk the talk, but walk the walk. The song is a catchy way of reminding us to focus on living out our faith through our actions.

It urges us to do the will of God and strive for a genuine relationship with Him. So, let us not just talk about heaven but actively pursue it through a life of obedience and devotion.

The powerful lyrics and soulful melodies cause them to linger in one’s memory.

“Everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’ there
Everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’
Everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’ there
Oh my Lord.”

The splendor of heaven is summed up by reference to the streets of gold and the throne which symbolize the grandeur and majesty of heaven.

“Well I read about the streets of gold
And I read about the throne
Not everybody callin ‘Lord, Lord’
Is gonna see that heavenly home.”

The song is based on Matthew 7:21-23. This passage highlights Jesus’ teachings on the importance of doing the will of God rather than solely relying on outward religious acts.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7: 21).

The alternative of heaven which is the destination of those who do not trust Jesus as Savior and Lord is noted in the following Scripture basis in the song: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7: 22, 23)!

That thought alone is enough to motivate devotion to the Lord.

May “I never knew you” not be awaiting you upon death. It is your choice.

May the repetition of the phrase “Heaven, I wanna go to heaven” be so soul sensitive you willingly devote yourself to loving and living for the Lord now.

Take a deep dive daily into Scripture and study about how He would have you live.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” Colossians 3: 23.

Your Legacy

To better understand the importance of this Post stop for a brief time and think of one of your deceased friends. Include what that friend meant to you.  Please do it and then resume reading.

Like that friend you will someday be deceased and people will be thinking of you. You may think they won’t, but they will. How will they recall you?

They will remember a kind word, a warm smile, a special deed, something you gave them, or your faith and faithfulness. Today you will make a deposit in someone’s memory bank. Be sure to leave those you encounter with a good recall.

How will you be remembered? Soon your name will be spoken of along with those who have predeceased you. That should not be thought of as morbid, but as counsel regarding being your best every day and leaving the trail of a life well lived.

You, that’s right you, will live on in the broken hearts of some that will never heal. Give them pleasant memories.

The most important thing that you leave behind will not be that which is etched in stone on your tombstone, but the memories woven into the fabric of the lives of others. The memory of you will live on with those you have touched.

There are various rewards in heaven for believers resulting from their life’s work on earth. These rewards are given at the final judgment. They are not given until then because one’s work lives on. For example the Apostle Paul will not get his final reward until the final judgment because his work is still producing. The same is true of us. How will your life be celebrated and your memory be honored?

Are your exploits worthy to be honored and followed?

As those who have gone before you contributed to your life you are now depositing a part of yourself in those who will come after you. By ever so small of a way you will be an influencing memory in the lives to come after you. Help them by leaving them good memories.

Think about it at the end of each day what imprint have you made on lives. You may fade from their lives like a rising fog, but your influence will remain.

Few are those who leave a legacy larger than life. Don’t be concerned if you might not be one of those. You are only responsible for faithfulness in your sphere of life. That is where you can stand tall. Memories of most will soon be eroded from society in general. However, there are our peers in whose torn hearts we will long be remembered and that memory passed on to others.

Are you leaving those close to you with assurance as to where you will have gone after passing through the old door of death through which all must go? That is the ultimate condolence.

Will those who encountered you be able to say: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you…” (Philippians 1:3)?

Our Pattern for Patience

The pattern for patience is our Lord. He is our peerless example. Peter said “The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3: 9).

In that verse is found the answer to some of life’s greatest mysteries, such as, why does God allow war, sickness, prejudice, hate, and evil in general?

Three things need to be considered in answering that.

1.  God has given us a free will, and within that free will exists all of man’s inhumanity to man and the by-products of disease and deformity. He created a perfect world. Man’s sin perverted His perfection.

2.  God is “longsuffering” and He wants to give persons every possible opportunity to respond positively to His grace.

3.  Were God to step in and put a stop to all that is wrong in the world none of us would be left. None of us would escape divine judgment and the wrath to come.  None!

Therefore, man having messed up God’s perfect world, God is long suffering with us in order for us to have every opportunity to respond favorably to His love.

God’s long suffering with us is directly related to His redemptive plan. He doesn’t want any to perish.  None!

If Jesus had not been long suffering with the impatient and  impetuous Peter he would never have made it into the kingdom.

If Jesus had not been longsuffering with doubting Thomas he never would have overcome his skepticism and entered the kingdom.

If Jesus had not been long suffering with the hypocritically pious Paul he never would have gained heaven.

Paul acknowledged this when he wrote, “For this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (I Timothy 1: 16).

If Christ were not long suffering with you and me… You fill in the blank.

He is our Pattern. That means we are to pattern Him in relating to our peers. Oh, no, this is where it gets personal. This explains how we are to relate to our friends who are inconsistent, incompetent, and inefficient. This harvest of the Spirit is for the benefit of the failures and the weak — like us. We are to be longsuffering because our Lord is. Like our Pattern we are to go on exercising longsuffering.

Patience is Creative

John Chrysostom, the golden tongued orator of yesteryear, defined longsuffering as the grace that belongs to a man who has the power to avenge himself but who does not.

John and Susannah Wesley had 21 children. He said to Susannah of one: “How do you have the patience to tell that blockhead the same thing 20 times over?”

Susannah who regularly manifested a Christlike temperament said, “If I had told him but nineteen times, I should have lost all my labor.”

Longsuffering produces a better product. When the masterful artist Leonardo da Vinci was painting his famous “Last Supper” he was chided for standing for long periods staring at the canvas without making a stroke. Someone queried, “Why do you do this?” He answered, “When I pause the longest, I make the most telling strokes with my brush.”

Patience restricts pride. Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” which he described as a messenger of Satan. He said it was given to him “lest he should be exalted above measure,” that is, to prevent him from having an ego trip (II Cor. 2: 7). He had to be longsuffering to endure his thorn in the flesh and it was to his benefit.

Patience renews trust. We are told the Lord won’t allow us to be tempted above that which we are able. He won’t give us a test we can’t pass. Years of experience proves this. There are brief intervals when it does not seem reasonable, but over a period of time it proves to be so.

In nature we see examples of this. A diamond is simply a lump of coal that didn’t quit working.

When an irritating object, like a grain of sand, gets under the mantle of an oyster it simply covers the irritant with the most precious part of its being. The result, a beautiful pearl. The irritation caused by the foreign object is stopped by it being encrusted with the pearly formation. A true pearl is a simple example of longsuffering’s victory over irritation.

Patience revives others. We are told to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6: 2). When we exercise long suffering in supporting others we revive them.

God has been long suffering with you. Why? What is it He desires to achieve through you?

“… if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8: 25)