The older preacher, located at the time 40+ years in the same congregation, stood before the audience and spoke the words, “I would much rather wear out than rust out in the work of God. For Heaven is a place and rest and the church is a place of work.”
In the truest sense, the church is a place of work. Just because one has obeyed the gospel and become a member of the church, it does not mean the resting should begin. As mentioned on Sunday, once we are baptized into Christ, Satan does not consider the battle to be lost. He still seeks someone to devour (1 Peter 5.7). He plans to put temptations in your way to draw you away from God. Are you clothed in the full armor of God? (Ephesians 6.10-18)
If anything, when we are members of the church, our abilities are magnified and give rise to more opportunities. When we realize that God provides grace to each one of us, it should motivate us to use what He has given us (Romans 12.3). The grace He provides is different for each person is different (Romans 12.4). Just because the abilities He gives us are different does not mean our lives are not important. The parts of the body need each other to survive and to unite in the common purpose of God (Ephesians 4.1-15).
So, are you wearing out or rusting out in the church.
Let me leave you with the words of Jesus,
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11.28)
I might have posted this before but I was not able to find a date, but the words provide a very interesting look at the description of a Christian during the second century. Take a moment and give it a quick read and see what you think.
This description was found in a letter from a letter to Diognetus, Second century A.D., Rome.
The “Christian” Described
“Christians live in their own native lands, but as aliens; as citizens, they share all things with others; but like aliens, suffer all things. Every foreign country is to them as their native country and every native land as a foreign country.”
“They marry and have children just like everyone else; but they do not kill unwanted babies. They offer a shared table, but not a shared bed. They are at present ‘in the flesh’ but they do not ‘live according to the flesh.’ They are passing their days on earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the appointed laws, and go beyond the laws in their own lives. They love everyone, but are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and gain life. They are poor and yet make many rich. They are short of everything and yet have plenty of all things. They are dishonored and yet gain glory through dishonor.”
“Their names are blackened and yet they are cleared. They are mocked and bless in return. They are treated outrageously and behave respectfully to others. When they do good, they are punished as evil-doers; when punished, they rejoice as if being given new life. They are attacked by Jews as aliens, and are persecuted by Greeks; yet those who hate them cannot give any reason for their hostility. To put it simply – the soul is to the body as Christians are to the world. The soul is spread through all parts of the body and Christians through all parts of the cities of the world. The soul is in the body but is not of the body; Christians are in the world but not of the world.”
This election has created friction between friends, family and even Christians. No matter who you are voting for, or even if you are voting, you will agree that our country is in a place of decline. Each day, the social media newsfeeds show a majority of politics and I imagine it will get filled up as election draws closer.
Since 2004 (I believe), I have provided a voting guide for you to consider and pray over. I decided to make this Voting Guide 2016 available before the weekend so you are able to spend time considering the choices and spend time in prayer.
Last night, Senator Ted Cruz suspended his campaign after a second place finish in the Indiana Primary. As soon as the Senator suspended his campaign, social media was flooded with disgust over the elections, concern for our country and an unwavering pattern of whining about what to do next. Some say they will not vote, others will go to the polls and hold their nose as they pick the lesser of two evils and still others are joyous to pull the lever (or push the button) on election day.
May I remind you this election season has not turned out the way it has not because of the past year or even two years? It is due to a pattern of behavior which began years ago with the entitlements, a “that’s the way we have always done it”, a troubling financial system and a pure lack of respect for mankind. If you do not believe me, I would challenge you to research it.*
The fate of our country is not in the hands of the politicians, but it begins at our kitchen tables. It begins in our homes, not in Washington D.C. Our homes are suffering due to a lack of parenting, a lack of relationships and a lack of respect. If you want to turn the culture of our nation back to its founding principles, then start at home.
Let your family know that you are committed to them and their future; along with the legacy that you are leaving to your family. Let them know what you will make mistakes, but it is time to rise above the status quo and begin living for a greater purpose.
Start by talking; not texting. Put away technology and begin a conversation with your family over their interests, their goals and even how their day went. It is time we build the family through our relationships and not through problems. Allow your children to speak and allow them to learn.
Continue by getting your hands dirty. This nation was not built on watching television, but it was built by the hands of those willing to get out and work to make things happen. With the summer approaching, I believe there is ample opportunity for you and your family to get outside, breathe a little and get a little dirty. Teach your children the benefits of growing your own food, digging in the dirt and living a fulfilled life.
Teach your children respect. Just because you disagree with someone does not mean you have to throw up your hands, degrade them, unfriend them and never speak to them again. It means you disagree. The current process of disagreements is filled with insults, hatred and anger; instead of a respectful discussion.
Teach your children that they can respect others, but not agree with them. Allow them the ability to have a discussion over a disagreement and not a blatant, cutthroat domination. This country needs to talk, not fight like cats and dogs over the smallest of matters.
Teach your children there are things worth fighting for in life. There are standards and morals that must be fought over, but fought the right way and with the right information.
Stop giving everyone a trophy. Not everyone wins in life and each person needs to understand that every day. Some people will lose; they will fail. Some of the greatest winners in life have had the greatest failures. Allow your children to fail. It is ok, they will survive. Teach them.
Teach your children the value of hard work. Notice I did not say, “teach them to work,” but instead “teach them the value of hard work.” The future generations will need to work harder than we do; even with the power of technology. Teach them to value hard work. The value of hard work is remembered best in the value of a day off. Many people see a day off as another day because they have not valued hard work during the week. Value hard work.
Read the Bible. It does not matter if you are religious or not, just read it. It is the best-selling book of all time and so many will never read it. Begin in Psalm 11.3 if you want, but read it. (read the verses that follow it too)
My friends, this world is not over because of one election, it is over when a people of standards, morals and power cower behind the excuses that are currently being made.
Step up. It is time.
Just my thoughts,
*I really dislike providing all the information to people, but instead letting them do some groundwork and find out for themselves. I believe it is better that way.
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