I love this description of the early church: “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that any of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32).
We live in a world where we all want to be independent. We want our own personal car, our own personal clothing items, our own personal home. We don’t want to need each other. But in the early church they had all things common: they shared. Do you own something you could share with someone else?
I believe God placed ‘stuff’ in our lives because He wants us to be a blessing to someone else. Its not all about you getting blessed. Abraham was blessed “to be a blessing“. And the following verses show that they didn’t just share with their family or peers; they shared with the needy.
They worked from where they were in life to lift others up to their level. Let me encourage you to do the same.
Jesus and Peter both had strong wills. On one occasion, they faced off against one another in what must have been a tense shouting match. Jesus had been talking about the bad things that would happen to Him in Jerusalem. He was preparing them for reality.
“Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘Be it far from You, Lord: this shall not be unto You’” (Matthew 16:22). Peter wanted to protect Jesus. He liked it when Jesus prophesied good things, but he didn’t like when He prophesied something bad. He was a man of faith and he wanted Jesus to talk the faith talk. But Jesus resisted Peter.
“But He turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: you are an offense to me: for you savor not the things that be of God, but those that be of men’” (Mathew 16:23). Jesus understood the resurrection principle. Real life comes only after death. Peter wanted just the good news side of the equation. Jesus saw the big picture. Both had faith. But Peter wanted the easy way, and Jesus knew how it had to be done.
If you ever have an argument with Jesus, you know who is going to win. And in the end, Jesus was correct, and Peter became the winner.
“There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
One of the dilemmas we face as sinners in a fallen world is that we are too easily deceived. We permit television, movies, and our friends at work or school to influence us way too much. We seem to think the accumulation of knowledge will somehow add up to wisdom. But some of the worst losers I’ve known have college degrees. And some of most successful people I know have but High School diplomas. Education does not equate to maturity.
There are actions that seem correct to our emotions and our logic, but in the end they end in failure. God has given us clear direction in His word how a man (or woman) should guide our steps. When God’s favor abides with him/her, life is the result. It sure beats death.
Choose the right way; choose wisely. Your tomorrow depends upon it.
“Where no oxen are, the crib in clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox” (Proverbs 14:4).
In my teen years I worked for a farmer. One of my jobs at the end of every day was to feed and “bed down” the cattle. Cows don’t use toilets, so they just let it drop wherever they are. Laying down fresh straw on the floor helped absorb the mess. Periodically, however, someone had to scoop the manure-saturated straw out of the barn. That’s why the barn always stank.
But, without the mess their would be no beef business. Without the cows, the barn would be clean; but with the cows comes increase. Do we want clean or increase? The price of having success is having a mess we have to clean up.
Instead of griping and complaining today about someone’s mess you have to clean up, perhaps we should be thanking God for the opportunity of having such a mess. Because there is much increase in the strength of the ox.
I wore a green camp shirt to church Saturday evening. When we got there my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter, Raegan, asked, “What’s that on your shirt, Grandpa?” She asks me that question every week, so I said, “What do you think it is?” She replied, “That’s your pen, Grandpa.” I said, “Yes, what color is the pen?” She said, “That’s your blue pen, Grandpa. It doesn’t go with your green shirt”.
How dare a 3-year old try to tell me how to dress? What does she know about colors blending at age 3 anyway? Perhaps more than I do.
The great prophet Isaiah gave us a glimpse of what it will one day be like in God’s Kingdom: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).
Perhaps we might see a bit of that kind of switch in our world today. Now I’ll have to buy some new color-coordinated pens.
Proverbs 14:1 says, “Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish plucks it down with her hands.”
In an interesting twist, the Proverb writer changes his usual format of writing referring to men; in this Proverb, he refers to a wise or foolish woman. The writer is not talking here about physical construction, which would be men’s work. He is talking, rather, about building the home. The home should be a place of peace and security. It should be a place where everyone finds renewal and refreshing at the end of their day.
A wise woman builds that place of peace and security, for she knows she herself will be renewed by it. But the foolish woman rails on about all she does not have and gripes about what could have been. She commits relational suicide by pulling her own home down on top of her.
Are you wise or foolish? Think about this today.
My garden tractor has been out of commission for two months! Thursday afternoon I borrowed the church’s mower for one last time. I told Anita that they were bringing my rider back on Monday, but she wouldn’t hear of it. The grass was a foot high and she was embarrassed. “We’re the shame of the neighborhood”, she said. I don’t know what neighborhood she’s talking about, but I wanted her happy, so I mowed it.
The gear box went out and they had to replace it. That won’t be cheap. Why do things keep breaking down? Why can’t they make a light bulb that will last or steel that won’t rust?
In a world where everything around us is deteriorating and winding down, I’m glad that God never changes. He’s the one Constant we can always count on (and grass growing, of course).