Cherish the Past, Celebrate the Present, Commit to the Future 4/9/00



JESUS CHRIST said, “I will build my church and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

As a result of what our Lord has done, is doing, and will do to build His church we have reason to:


Ever since His resurrection, by His Spirit, He has been busy building His church universally and locally. I believe in the local church because it is what Christ called His “body.”

Some contemporary thinkers speak in grandiose terms of belonging to the church universal, that is, the invisible church. They profess they don’t believe in or belong to the local church. Their involvement is with the invisible church. To them I would like to say, “That is so wonderful that I would like to contribute some invisible money to help your invisible church.”

Those who declare their belief in the universal but not the local church need to go outdoors and look around. As they stand basking in the sun, they might say I believe in the sun universal. Take away the sun local and there would be no sun universal. Take away the local church and there would be no church universal.

I believe in the local church because Christ believed in it. I believe in the local church because the Greek word for church is used 85 times in the New Testament to refer to the local church.

It is spoken of by Christ as His “body.” To me one of the most distinct evidences of His love and sense of intimacy with the church is found in the life of Saul of Tarsus. Saul had been appointed by the Sanhedrin to investigate the accounts of the resurrection of Christ. The Scripture describes him on his way to Damascus to interrogate by intimidation and if need be death to Christians there who professed the resurrection. He is described as breathing out threats of cruelty.

Suddenly a heavenly light blinded him and he heard the voice of the resurrected Christ saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4).

Saul was a brilliant young lawyer. Under these conditions can’t you imagine his immediately building his defenses. “Jesus, you said ‘Me.’ What do you mean ‘Me.?’ Its not you I am persecuting, its the church.”

Jesus: “Saul, that is Me!”

That is how intimate He feels about His church. I want to treat the local church with the same dignity and love I do its Head.

The church is also called the “bride of Christ.” I know there are some sick churches but I am not going to use them as an excuse to diminish my devotion to His church.

One of the first weddings I performed here has served as a graphic for me regarding this principle.


In Ephesians chapter 4 several illustrations are used to help our understanding of the church. One of the primary analogies found in the passage related it as being like a human body. Observe:


“Him who is the head – Christ” I like that. Christ is the control central of the church.

READ: Eph. 1: 20-23.

He is not only the Head “of” the church, He is the Head “over” the church. He is the Organic Head and the Authoritative Head.

II. THE HEART OF THE CHURCH Vss. 13, 14 & 11

The heart of Christ’s church is purity of doctrine and order.

A. Purity of Doctrine

For a multiplicity of diverse people to live together in harmony there must be accord in what is believed. The uncommon common denominator must be belief in the same Bible truths. This is a point of entry for Satan to work. Verse 14 describes tactics used by Satan’s ambassadors.

One is “trickery” or “slight of men.” The Greek word so translated is KUBLIA, literally meaning to play with dice. It is a reference to tricky words. One of Satan’s classic twist of words has to do with Christ Himself. There are cult groups if asked will say they believe Christ is the Son of God. But if pressed and asked if they believe Christ was God the Son, they must truthfully answer no. He was Immanuel, God with us.

Another deception is “cunning craftiness” and refers to ingenuity in inventing errors. In a crafty manner Satan did it in Eden. He added to and took away from the Word spoken by God. He still confuses congregations with doctrinal errors.

At this point I must bring in a detail that is a bit personal. Therefore, I am speaking of a principle and not a person. This principle is one of the most humbling in a pastor’s life.

B. Dedication of a Person

In verse 11 it is said “He Himself,” the reference is to Christ, “gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.”

Ideally, the pastor is Christ’s gift to the church. The church that receives the gift receives the Giver. The church that rejects the gift rejects the Giver. I praise the Lord for this beloved church that nearly 35 years ago received the person sent by the Lord to serve Him as pastor.

The last two titles used here are a reference to one person. There is a rule in Greek known as Granville Sharp’s rule. It states: “When two nouns in the same case are connected by the Greek word “and,” and the first noun is preceded by the article “the,” and the second noun is not preceded by the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers, and is a further description of it.”

That means the expression “pastors and teachers” refers to one person fulfilling two functions.

This is the only time in Scripture the under shepherd of Christ is called “pastor.” The Greek word for it is POIMENAS and means shepherd. The root meaning is to protect, tend, and feed the flock. Bible teaching is one area of protecting and feeding.

The other term describing this person’s role is “teacher.”

One way purity of doctrine is to be preserved is by a pastor consistently working as a pastor/teacher. Thus he protects the flock from false doctrine and teaches them true doctrine.

Order is essential for unity in the church. The pastor must be under Christ’s authority and fully surrendered to it. The members of the flock must wilfully put themselves under the authority of the pastor/teacher and learn from him.

The humbling aspect for the pastor is to know some day he must give account to the Good Shepherd.

That keeps the under shepherd from any ego trips.


A dad who had been away on a trip returned with a gift for his little girl. After visiting together for a while dad settled into reading the paper and the child to playing with her new game. Soon dad’s subconscious began to pick up on sounds of frustration coming from his little daughter. He put down his paper and got down with the child to show her how the game worked. Later at bed-time the child said, “It was a lot better game than I thought dad.”

If you get involved in a vibrant fellowship that teaches the Bible and is Christ-centered, one that is growth oriented, you will have cause to say, “Church is a lot better experience than I thought.”

The church is described as being like a human body with many functioning body parts. Body parts differ but each contributes in its own way. Imagine having two noses; one each where your ears are. Think about having one oval ear where your nose is. Each in its place fulfilling its function makes for a better body.

Observe in verse 8 that every member is given a gift by Christ. That is, a measure of grace that enables them to fulfill some function in the church. This is further defined in vs. 16.

The body is – – –

A. UNIFYING – “joined and knit together”

When one member of the body hurts, all hurt. Another wedding lives in my memory as an illustration of this.

Those fingers hurt so bad that my body sat up much of the night to keep them company. That is the way the body of Christ works.

B. SUPPLYING – “every joint supplies”

Christ has given you Spiritual gifts that enable you to contribute to His cause. No one need feel left out.

Reputedly there once was a church with four members whose names were Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. The church had financial needs and Everybody was asked to help. Everybody thought Somebody would do it. Anybody could have. Amid this confusion you know who did it? Nobody. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done. Then the church needed a work day, and Somebody was asked to help. Somebody got upset because Anybody could have done the job just as well and, after all, it really was Everybody’s job. In the end Nobody did it. Nobody did a good job. Thereafter, when there was work to be done Nobody could be counted on. Nobody visited the sick. Nobody gave generously. Nobody shared his faith. Finally the day came that Somebody left the church and Everybody and Anybody decided to follow. Guess who was left! Nobody.

C. EDIFYING – “effective working by which every part does its share”

In the word “edification” you can hear the word edifice which means a building. To edify means to build up. In this instance it means to build up spiritually. We are to do that.

If the average car has as many parts that don’t work as the typical church, it wouldn’t run down hill. Are you doing your part? “I’ve been a weight for long enough on the church’s back. From now on I’m going to take a completely different track. I’ll work and pay and pray and carry my load instead. And not have others carry me like people do their dead.”

D. MULTIPLYING – “causes growth of the body”

Dawson Trotman in “Born to Reproduce” gives this illustration of multiplication. If one Christian won one person to Christ and spent six months helping to mature that one before each of them won someone else, the world could be won in 16 years. At the end of six months, the two would become four. At the end of one year the four would be eight. Multiplying this conversion, maturing, conversion cycle every six months the total in seven years would 33,000 converts. If that process continued for sixteen years, the total would be nearly three billion converts.

To win our community it is not enough to add members, we must multiply.

Bon Voyage 10/22/00



ACTS 20:22 – 24

Jesus Christ, near the end of His earth walk
prayed, “I have finished the work which You gave me to do” 
(John 17:4).

He then concluded that work by dying for our sins on Calvary. With His last breath He cried out to the Father, “It is finished!”

Jesus Christ deals in finished products. He has begun a good work in you. You are a project in progress. Be patient! Be patient with yourself and with others for they too are not yet complete but are in the process of being completed. Those who yield to Him will find: “He who has begun a good work in you WILL complete it” (Philippians 1:6).

You can confidently say: “I am not what I use to be; I am not what I ought to be; but praise the Lord, I’m on my way to becoming all that I was intended to be.”

If you consider yourself a project too great for Christ, consider one of His prime completed products, a most unlikely one, the Apostle Paul. He was one of the very ones who condemned Christ to death. He then was appointed chief investigator of the reports of the resurrection. His task was to disprove it. Instead the evidence of it led to his conversion followed by a life of service. His evidence of the resurrection made him willing to die for his belief in the resurrected Christ.

Paul, the investigator, later described himself as being “apprehended” by Christ for a purpose. Near the end of his earthly ministry he spoke of his service and its imminent closure. He spoke of:


Paul said, “…nor do I count my life dear to myself…”

Those who spend so much of their time preening, pampering, and profiling themselves might find this hard to comprehend.

When there is a commitment to a cause the cause comes ahead of life itself. The Library of Champions for Christ is lined with biographies of persons who have been martyred for Christ. Some have died for Him, some have died while serving Him. They lived among us as persons whose lives were a token tribute to the one who gave His life for them. They were so careful for the cause and so casual of life.

He declared I want to “finish my race with joy.”

Who among us would not like to live a life of joy? It is possible with the right Biblical world view. Let’s come back to that in a moment. In light of this statement in Scripture and my own life- experience there are to me certain obvious observations.


Spiritually we will each be either a casualty or a conqueror. Inevitably, you like every human being will have difficulties, disappointments, set- backs, suffering, and heartbreaks. In all of these you can be “more than conquerors.” That expression translates HYPER, meaning “more than” and NIKE, meaning “conqueror.” In Christ you are. In this world “you WILL have tribulation” Christ said. Expect it and learn how to deal with it. Remember that, momentarily it will be explained further.


The object is to finish the long course and finish it to the best of our ability. This calls for commitment to be followed by consistency. Christ didn’t save you to start the race but to finish it.


Life is short. Eternity is significant. If you give proper attention to where you are going the trip takes on a different meaning. A moment ago I mentioned we would come back to the concept of finishing the “race with joy.” To do so one must have an understanding of the joy spoken of. It is not a life lived in a care free zone. It is the capacity to see in your adversity the opportunity to become more Christ like.

If the object of your life is not to become more Christ like you are not going to experience that joy. If the object of your life is to become more Christ like you will find and express joy in adversity.

If the object of your life is not to become more Christ like your outlook will be in a perpetual dark whirlpool of every increasing negativism, pessimism, and complaining. The problems in your life will appear to be a grievous end in themselves rather than means to an end. The end being to become more Christ like.



God and the “word of His grace” is “able to build you up.” Additionally, there is “an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

“Sanctified” means set aside for a certain use. An illustration of this is two books. One is a how to book on how to build a house. The other is an inspirational novel about a family that lived in a house. The novel on the family will be of little use in knowing how to build a building. Conversely, the book on how to build a house will afford little or no inspiration. When used as intended both fulfill the function for which they were created, that is, sanctified; one to instruct and one to inspire.

When our Lord saved you He set you aside to become more Christ like. Thereafter, everything in your life is to be used to enable you to fulfill that for which you are set aside. That is, becoming more Christ like. If you miss that you miss your reason for being. Tragically most have missed it. For them life turns cold grey instead of sparkling with the colors of the rainbow as intended. This ties closely with the – – –


Christ is quoted, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Most often that is associated with the giving of money and it is applicable. I want to appeal to this beloved membership to be more generous than ever in giving to the cause of Christ through this church budget.

There is a wider application of this text to incorporate all of life. Give your every asset and resource to Christ. That is what sanctification is. It is giving yourself to be set aside for His use in the broad sunlit uplands of victory, achievement, and accomplishment as well as along the perimeter of the valley of the shadow of death.

The more we give ourselves away in the service of our Lord the more blessed we are.


After this final farewell Paul knelt and prayed with them. They wept and embraced and bid each other farewell. Bonvoyage! Have a good trip. He had just explained how to have a good trip on troubled waters.


In the day of Charles II, Margaret Wilson, a woman of great faith, was falsely accused and sentenced to death. She was tied to the stake on the beach at low tide and offered release for recanting as the tide rose. Her last words – “Christ only is my Master.” She was a woman of great courage.

Our word COURAGE comes from the Latin word meaning resulting from two basics: cor and ago. “Cor” is the word for “heart” and “ago” the word for “to put in motion.” When the heart is put in motion there is courage.

The root word “cour” speaks of the condition of the heart. Richard cour deLion was a reference to King Richard who had the heart of a lion.

The Bible speaks often of the heart. It speaks definitively of each of us. “For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7)

“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). 

It is the “heart that devises wicked imaginations.”(Proverbs 6:18)

We need to so live as not to be defined as in Matthew 15: 8: “This people draws near unto me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

Such a person lacks courage. They don’t have the courage to reveal their true self. Their heart is in the wrong condition.

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord ponders the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2) 

We need to pray,  “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) That takes courage. Scripture notes, “you shall love the Lord with all your heart.” Try it and you will see just how much courage it takes.

You: A Thing of Beauty, A Joy to Behold Ephesians 2:8-10 8/6/00

Jesus Christ loves beauty. Therefore, He loves
you. Don’t discount that statement and thereby
diminish your own self-worth. Our beloved Lord is
identified as the creator of all things.

“For by Him all things were created that are in
heaven and that are on earth… All things were
created through Him and for Him… in Him all things
consist….” (Colossians 1: 6, 17).

In considering the enormity of “all things”
don’t forget one thing —- you. You are the product
of His creative genius and love.

Having just completed a 22-day tour of much of
Europe my eyes have feasted on beauty. Some of the
architectural beauty of old world workmanship leaves
one in open mouth amazement. The creative genius
that built Venice along enchanting canals is
dumbfounding. Edifices such as the Doge Palace, the
Cathedral of Milan, and the many castles perched on
mountain peaks excites the imagination. Their beauty
is remarkable.

The paintings of Da Vinci, Chotto, and
Michelangelo stretch ones appreciation for the skill
of the artists.

Even greater beauty is to be seen. From the
“Top of Europe,” the Jungfrau, one can look out on
the Eiger and other massive peaks of the Alps.

Driving across the Alps four times in two weeks left
me with an even greater appreciation of their
beauty. The only sounds heard from persons on the
bus were oohs, ahs, and deep sighs. An occasional
expression of awe could occasionally be heard such
as: “Wow! Look at that!” After crossing one of my
young friends commented, “I have heard people speak
of something being breath taking but that is the
first time I have experienced it.”

When our Lord, the Creator, built them He did a
marvelous work.

I had to come home to see one of the most
beautiful things in the world. I looked in the
mirror and there it was —- the wonderful me. Wait
a minute, before you brand that as an egotistical
statement. Listen to the message now in progress and
go look in the mirror and you too will be able to
say of yourself, “I am one of the most beautiful
things in the world.” You have the potential of
greater beauty than magnificent cathedrals, castles,
and mountains. Scripture says, “You are fearfully
and wonderfully made.”

You are a work in progress and perhaps the
greatest beauty is yet to be seen.

If the Holy Spirit is successful in doing in
your life what He wants to through this message you
will exit this hour with greater understanding of
yourself and fuller appreciation for the Creator and
His creative work in progress in you.

Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before
men, that they may see your good works and glorify
your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Christ has called none of us to be secret
disciples. We are called and commissioned to live
and work in such a way that our influence for Him
can be seen and felt.

Systems of religion have been developed around
the little word “works.” Actually there are only two
systems of religious faith. One is that salvation is
obtained by doing good works. The other is that we
are saved by the good work done by Jesus Christ on
our behalf.

Christianity is the one faith not based on a
system of good works. Even under the umbrella of
Christianity there are some denominations that have
not grasped this. Many who lean toward the Christian
faith still labor under the confusing concept they
have to do something to merit God’s favor.

We are not saved BY works but we are saved TO work.

Belief that salvation is by works makes God and
man both look bad.

It makes man look bad because it presents us as
doing everything we do in order to try to get
something for doing it. It robs us of the simple joy
of doing good works in Christ’s name out of
uninhibited joy for what He has done for us.

It makes God look bad because it represents Him
as a God who can be bought off or in effect bribed.

It makes Him appear as though He is an overlord who
awaits payoffs.

New life doesn’t result OUT OF good works but
it results IN good works.

No text brings the issue into clearer focus than Ephesians 2: 8 – 10.

I. THE CREATOR’S PLAN “We are His workmanship…”

The word “workmanship” translates the Greek
POIEMA. In that you can hear our English word poem.
From where does a poem come? It comes from the mind
of the poet.

We hear much today about self-esteem. It is a
beautiful school of thought and needs to be
addressed by Christians. Actually it can only be
addressed properly and fully from a Biblical
viewpoint. You have a right to self-esteem because
of this verse. As the poem comes from the mind of
the poet, so you are a product of the mind of the
loving God. You are a miraculous product of His thought.

I don’t understand why He made me like this.

Perhaps you have wondered the same about yourself. I
would have done me a little differently. However, I
gladly defer all design work to Him in light of two
things. He is wiser than I and knows what is best.

He is more loving than I and always does the best.

The most jarring TV commercial last Fall didn’t
say a word. It simply shows a series of people who
have one thing in common – a nasty injury or scar.
There’s a cowboy with a huge scar around eye, and
something wrong with the eye itself; a fellow with a
bulbous cauliflower ear; another with horribly
callused feet. There’s no explanation at all, simply
the Nike swoosh and “Just Do It.”

The ad has been analyzed and criticized widely
as being incomprehensible and extreme. But the key
to the controversial commercial lies in the
background music. Joe Cocker sings, “You are so
beautiful…to me.”

To these athletes – the wrestler with the
cauliflower ear, the surfer with a shark bite, the
bull rider blind in one eye – their injuries are
beauty marks. And to their fans, these athletes are
beautiful because of their scars. “Beauty is in the
eye of the beholder,” says Mike Folino, the ad’s

God’s grace is just as jarring and
controversial. Our beauty is found not in us, but in
him. He looks down at us – inured, blind, and
scarred – and sings, “You are so beautiful…to me.”

But wait, there is more to come. We have a
tendency to think of the physical us. He is

ambitious to create character. It is our true self

He is perpetually in the process of creating.

The village of Oberammergau in Germany is known

as the home of woodcarvers. These craftsmen are

schooled and skilled in their craft. My wife and I

added to our collection of nativities by purchasing

a lovely one piece depiction of Mary, Joseph, and

the baby Jesus. This lovely work of art was once a

part of a tree growing in the deep forest on a

lonely mountain side. At one point it was a

shapeless block of wood lying on the woodcarvers

floor. Then on his lathe he began to chip away on

it. Eventually tiny tools were used to finish the

craftsman creation.

If that wood had mentality and the capacity to

talk, if it had the attitude we often display, at

times it could have been heard to say to the carver,

“Hey, what’s going on here? Why did you chip away

that part of me I like? Don’t you love me?”

From the moment the block of wood was seen by

the carver he had in mind what he wanted to create.

Our loving Lord is no less a craftsman and no less a

visionary with you in mind. He knows exactly what He

has in mind for you. Some of the chiseling,

grinding, chipping, and sanding may not be

understood but the Craftsman is to be trusted. He

who has you in His hand has you in His mind as well.

Today our loving Lord has you in His workshop.

He has a more beautiful you in mind. As you allow

Him to work with you, it more clearly emerges.

The fact we are in His workshop should keep us

humble. We wouldn’t be there if we were perfect. He

is always in the process of perfecting us.

Confidence in the Craftsman results in


POIEMA can be translated “masterpiece.” If you

are a Christian, you are a masterpiece of God’s

handiwork. He is in the continuous process of

conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ. To have

wholesome self-esteem you don’t need power,

position, prominence, approval of a particular

person, or a degree. All these enhancements are

admirable, however, even without them you are a

masterpiece of God.

John 15:16 should cause you dignity and give a

sense of self-worth: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and

appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.”

Remember playing childhood games when sides had

to be chosen? Didn’t it always make you feel good to

be chosen. It meant you were approved, needed, and

wanted. Well, Christ has chosen you. That should do

something special to your self-esteem.


Christ Jesus”

When we, by faith, enter into union with

Christ, a new creature emerges. We are new creatures

in Christ. Old things pass away, ALL things become

new. A new life alien to the old life form emerges.

God wants to make you what He can contemplate

with delight. Every improvement He desires for you

brings Him joy and is for your good. Don’t forget

that last part. It IS for your good.

How this new spiritual creation comes to be is

explained in Ephesians 2: 8 & 9.

It is by grace. Grace means to give divine

favor. It means God

giving to us everything we need without us deserving

it. It means the blessing of God granted to us

without us meriting it.

We obtain this grace by faith. Some argue that

our faith is our work which merits God’s favor.

Think for a moment. When you are thirsty and

reach for a drink of water, what quenches your

thirst, your hand or the water? Your hand is only

the means of receiving the water. Our faith, which

has in it no merit, is simply the means of receiving

God’s unmerited favor.

The Lord chose one of the most common everyday

principles as the connecting point by which

salvation becomes ours. It is faith. It is a common

every day act in which we engage many times. Every

time you pop a top on a beverage can and drink from

it you are exercising faith. The public purchase and

consumption of any product is an act of faith. There

is really no such thing as a tamper-proof package.

Amusement parks are crowded with the faithful who

risk their lives on daring rides that are by no

means fail-safe. The idea of going on a blind date requires the

optimum of faith. The ultimate test of faith, from a

human vantage point, might just be marriage.

This faith that is basic to human nature is

what our Lord uses to draw us to Himself. If we can

have faith in the promises and potential of these

things, surely we can have faith in Him.

It is a gift of God. Gifts are purchased for us

by those who love us at no cost to us.

The gift of salvation, that is, a new life was

purchased as a gift for us by Christ when He

voluntarily paid the price on Calvary.

The expression “not of yourself” gives this

meaning to this passage: “this matter of being saved

by grace through faith is not of yourself” but is

the gift of God.

Faith itself is a gift of God. Therefore there

is no merit even in our faith.

This leaves no room for boasting. In self-

esteem there is no vaunted self-image. There is only

gratitude and gratification in how important we are

in God’s sight, as evidenced by what He has

done for us because we are of such worth to Him.

That is the basis of true self-esteem.

We sing, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.”

That is good theology.

III. THE CREATOR’S PURPOSE “Unto good works”

Though our good works are without merit, they

are so important that God created us in order for

them to be done. They are the spontaneous result of


Sometimes there are cynics who muse about being

saved once and for all and that they can do whatever

they want thereafter. Reality is that if a person is

really saved they hunger to do whatever God wants

thereafter. There is a good test of your salvation.

Are you ambitious to do what God wants you to do?

Jesus said, “Not everyone that says unto Me,

‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of

heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which

is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

Jesus informed us that, “In this is my Father

glorified, that you bear much fruit” (John 15:8).

As you contemplate your life’s ministry, “Let

this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

It was the mind of a loving and obedient servant.

Let your every thought be brought under the canopy

of that concept. Talk to yourself. Say to yourself:

Today I will think like a dynamic servant of

the Lord Jesus.

Clothes don’t make a person; thinking does.

Therefore, I will keep my thoughts open to the

will of God. God didn’t call me to a life of failure, but to

a life of success. This being so, I cannot fail as long as I

do His will, allowing Him to work in and through me,

motivating my every thought.

Because my God is a big God, I will think big with

confidence, knowing my thoughts can never be bigger

than my God.

Today I will think as the apostle Paul: “I can do all

things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil.


BE patient with God. Creation takes time. Six

days were involved in the creation of the universe. God worked

in Moses for 40 years before He could work through

him. He worked in Joseph for 13 years before He

could work through Him. David was anointed king as a

young man but he went through years of exile before

coming to the throne. Paul spent three years in the wilderness

in order that God could work on him before He could

work through Him.

The text concluded “that we should walk in

them.” That means our lifestyle should be one given

to good works.

He who created us has also prepared for us good works.

The fact He has prepared good work for you to

do means that by getting involved in doing it you

will live a life free of boredom. It is the abundant

life of which Christ spoke.

He doesn’t expect the same from all persons. He

not only allows for our diversity He designed it. A

craftsman doesn’t expect the same from all products.

Wood, metal, stone, and alloys all have different

capacities. Likewise, so do we. Therefore, don’t

compare yourself to others. In doing so, you can

find some you are better than and become

egotistical. Inevitably you will find some better

than you and this can cause depression. By comparing

yourself to what God has in mind for you, there is

true self-esteem and stability.

Have you personally experienced His work for


Are you allowing Him to work in you?

Will you, as never before, permit Him to work

through you?

Happiness is a Beautiful By-Product

Happiness is not something to be sought or bought. It is a beautiful by-product of a job well done. It is, as Christ said, the result of doing those things He taught. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Happiness is like a butterfly. Try to grasp it and you will frighten it away. Sit down quietly and it may alight on your shoulder.”

True happiness has to come from a personal internal Bible orientation.  Make a mental note of some Bible ideals that give you peace, and wisdom, and apply them. The by-product is happiness.

Start every day with the confidence you and your Master can achieve. Together you can search the unsearchable, know the unknowable, and do the undoable. 

Realize you have an invisible companion in all of life. 

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure”  (Phil 2:13).

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”  (Philippians 4:13).

Don’t let your feelings govern your attitude. Let faith and facts determine your outlook. When you awake in the morning you might in all honesty be able to say, “Dear Lord I don’t feel like you are here with me.”  Any one of many things may cause such a downer. You may have eaten Paul Revere Pizza the night before, and it got you up in the middle of the night. 

When you don’t feel like the Lord is within a country mile of you, and is looking the other direction then pray:

“Dear Lord, I don’t feel like you are here with me. However, Lord in your Word you said you would never leave me nor forsake me. Therefore, in spite of my nickeled feelings I thank you for the fact you are here with me. Let’s you and me go get ‘um.”

Continue with enthusiasm, “Lord, I’ve never lived this day before and I will never live it again. Help me to live it to the fullest in such a way that I won’t long to live it over or have to live it down. There will not be instant replay or rerun so help me to live it up to your standard.”

Live each day with a purpose. That purpose being to do all within your power to see to it that in your life His will is done.  He’ll help you.

In searching for happiness keep in mind it is a beautiful by-product of a job well done. The initial and primary job that must be well done is to establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.”

The apostle Paul exhorted his friend Timothy and through him shared the same encouragement with us: “…give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine… Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all”  (I Timothy 4:15).

Meditation is a lost art among most Christians. New Age aficionados have given a bad reputation to the art. However, the Psalmist spoke 14 times of meditating.  New Age teaching is that we create our own reality. That is so close to the truth as to be deceptive. It is not truth, however. 

Biblical meditation is taking a concept and dwelling on it until we become absorbed in it. Before he wrote of them David made a mental image of:

      a shepherd and his fold, green grass and a stream, the cup and oil, and fellowship with God.

Mentally armed with such thought he faced lions and giants.

When he failed to engage in such meditation and instead went up on the roof top and committed transcendental adultery he lost spiritual battles that caused himself and others much unhappiness.

Meditation on the Word of God enables one to replace subconscious conflicts with spiritual truths which produce a happy stable personality. 

“If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.” John 13:17