Tuesday, August 13, 2019

LITTLE THINGS


I Was Just Thinking About – LITTLE THINGS.

Most of the people I know are desirous of having a productive and useful life. They are usually careful that little things do not gain any kind of foothold in their lives. They are aware that little things can too easily and too quickly take root and become bigger things. To prevent bigger things from becoming obstacles in one’s life will require diligence (the constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind). It reminds me of Proverbs 6:6-11 (NIV), “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!...How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”

How can little things cause bigger things to happen? In the mid-1800s, the Grape Vines in Europe began to mysteriously deteriorate. The estimate is that between two-thirds and nine-tenths of all European Vineyards were destroyed. What caused this devastation? It was a small aphid-like insect not easily seen and for which there was no insecticide that could destroy it. The tiny insect fed on the roots and leaves of the grapevines causing severe damage. Just a little thing became a very big problem. The disease is identified as Phylloxera defined as microscopic, pale-yellow sap-sucking insects causing damage – and if left unattended – will destroy the grapevine. In fact, it destroyed 90% of the wine industry in France. The European wine grape is very susceptible to the insect. All of this devastation happened due to a tiny aphid - un undetectable insect – an enemy of the vine.

Question: Is it possible or likely that Spiritual Phylloxera can go undetected in one’s life? Answer: Yes! One would do well to read John 15:1-17 and gain the knowledge of Christ about how the Biblical Christian is to live and be in His Vine. There are many passages that address little things that can become big things in one’s life. One of the passages is Colossians 3:1-10. Dealing with Spiritual Phylloxera requires conducting a spiritual funeral. The text states: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.”

Current Biblical values and lifestyle require the things one must get rid of (put away). Things such as: Anger (great annoyance; rage); Wrath: (deeply resentful; stern indignation); Malice: (desire to inflict injury or harm; a hostile impulse); Slander: (a malicious, false, defamatory utterance); Obscene Talk (from your mouth: indecent; lewd); Do Not Lie to one another (exaggeration, boasting, bloviating, speaking pompously).”

Question: Why should the Biblical Christian deal with these things? Answer: If you are a Biblical Christian it is because “you have put off the old self with its practices and you have put on the new self, which is being  renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

Do you have spiritual Phylloxera lingering in your vine – your life? Do you disregard it as a little thing? You know what God’s Word states you must do – so – do it – get rid of all that would hinder and/or devastate your branch in the vine.

Prayerfully – Consider these things with me.

Monday, August 5, 2019

SPIRITUAL PURSUITS


I Was Just Thinking About – SPIRITUAL PURSUITS.

Throughout one’s life there have often been inquiries regarding one’s goals and ambitions. Recently, a friend posted on Facebook a list of questions that could be asked of students as they begin a new school year. Some of them are “fluff” questions but some are applicable in terms of family enrichment and interpersonal relationships. Two of the questions in particular: (1) What are three awesome things about yourself? (2) What is the one thing you would like us to know about yourself? In Family Enrichment situations, question 2 would add: “that would really make one love you?”

For the Biblical Christian, there are particular goals one should seek and commitments one must make. When Paul wrote to Timothy about the values he should embrace and pursue throughout his life, they included First Timothy 6:11, “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” Paul added in Second Timothy 2:22, Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  Hebrews 12:14 adds, “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” The Message paraphrase is: “Work at getting along with each other peace) and with God (holiness). Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God.”

What does Jesus teach about total commitment? He was very clear when he stated to all or any who chose to follow Him, Luke 9:23-24, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…” It is a learning process as one becomes more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. A contemporary song expresses part of the process: “Learning to lean, I'm learning to lean on Jesus Finding more power than I've ever dreamed I'm learning to lean on Jesus.  Sad broken hearted, at an alter I knelt I found peace that was so serene And all that He asks is a child-like trust And a heart that is learning to lean.”

Over the years, I have utilized Hymnals as part of my devotional reading and thoughts. A hymn that came to mind as I reflected on Hebrews 12:14, “Pursue holiness without which no one will see the Lord” was: More Holiness Give Me written by P.P. Bliss (1872) in which there is a checklist for one’s spiritual pursuit. Use the words as your personal prayer in your spiritual pursuit.
·       More holiness give me...
·       More strivings within...
·       More patience...
·       More faith...
·       More joy...
·       More purpose in prayer…
·       More gratitude...
·       More zeal...
·       More meekness...
·       More purity...
·       More strength...
·       More freedom from earth-stains...
·       More longings for home (heaven)...
·       More fit for the kingdom...
·       More useful...
·       More blessed and holy...
·       More, Savior, like Thee.

We might want to conclude this self-examination by singing a personal song of commitment…
To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus! My desire - to be like Him!
All through life's journey from earth to glory, My desire - to be like Him.

Prayerfully – Consider these things with me.