Bible verses to build your life on
Jesus said: “… whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…” ~ Matthew 7:24
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The dreaded word… ‘pressure’ ~ AHH~ RUN!!!!... or not ~ study
And now for a little detour from Matthew [not that I haven't done that before... :)] *** The dreaded 'P' word!... well, I'll get to that ~ :) First, a verse to talk about, since the subject has been on my mind lately, and I since I think it affects more than just me ~ :) ~ "Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." 2nd Timothy 4:2
What is that dreaded word? *cue the drum-roll* "Pressure". Ok, now that I've totally confused you (probably), you're probably thinking - what in the world is Steven talking about?
Well, I'm glad you asked! We live in a world that is wanting life to become more easy and more easy - work less for more money, have better and even more Godly relationship with less efforts, happier and more respectable families without the sacrifice, and a life where we can sometimes just get away from the "pressure". There's that word again, in the context I've been thinking on.
So, some of you will probably ask why I've been thinking on this. This is the world through my eyes - I see people every day, coming and going, most often trying hard to do at least some of what they are doing for God's glory. I see many who pray for things, and I know they mean it, and what they pray for is moving forward in a good way, until they let go... what do I mean? When you and I tune out of reality to get away from the pressure, we (very often) set down whatever we were praying for. Think about it this way. Say I gave you a beautifully-colored piece of paper with the most ornate writing that spelled the word 'Prayer', and I told you to hold onto that paper throughout your day to remind you to continue praying for the things you have placed before God's Throne. How many tasks could you do throughout your day without setting that beautiful piece of paper down?... How long would you be holding it? Did you know that when we pray for people, we are literally carrying them and though the pressure is invisible all of us need those prayers, and even more, we need those who will continue to pray for us, that we grow closer to Him, that we learn to hate sin, lies and fantasy, and that we continue to grow deeper in our understanding and application of God's Word to our lives, and in our ability to communicate His Word?
I hope it's starting to become clear now. See, we run from pressure - our country doesn't understand the Biblical meaning of words like 'faithfulness' and 'diligence' and perseverance' anymore. I mean, we live in the age of the microwave, the 'Tivo' for the many who still watch what the world calls entertainment and prideful sports, and everything is 'on-demand'. You want it? You can have it? Take it - it's yours!... Oh, you want it right now? You've got it! "Have it your way"...
So, with these thoughts in mind, and hopefully you are seeing what I've been seeing, how we as a culture of Christians have slowly been drifting downstream... let's once again look at some verses that may be familiar to us, but that need to have a new level of meaning for us and our lives.
"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." ~ 2nd Timothy 4:2-4
Men, you and I are very often terrible at this! We'd rather only engage when we can see that the pressure is short-lived. But, this passage shows no 'breaks' or 'time-outs' on the pressure. And the dichotomy is clear - we are either engaging in the battles, in the reality, helping those we can and growing in that pressure to become more diligent, or we are heaping up for ourselves, false teachers who will soften the Word of God to our liking, or taste - if you will, turning "aside to fables". Turning from truth to lies.
Men and brothers, women and sisters, I'm right there with you - I know what this is like. I know what life is like. I work, most often, more than 40 hours a week, and most often that barely pays the bills. And then, there are many weeks where we have to pour that much more effort into our work to just make "ends meet"... So, I'm not asking you to do more than I'm willing to do, either. What I'm really trying to say, especially to us guys - the leaders, It's time to stand. It is time for us to value God's Word enough to make radical changes in our lifestyles. It's time to throw away things in our lives that are hurting us. And, let's be honest, these elections are not going to bring a genuine revival - that isn't going to solve the problem(s). Genuine revival is on the individual level - you and me, digging in more, and embracing the love of the truth and hating what is evil... Oh yeah, let's look at those verses really quick.
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." ~ 2nd Thess. 2:10
... "did not receive the love of the truth..." ~ That ought to catch our attention every time we hear it and cause us to examine ourselves to make sure we are walking in the light and embracing the truth, not just deceiving ourselves, because there are only 2 categories in that verses: engaged in embracing and obeying God's truth, and falling for lies and painful deceptions. It's our choice - which will we choose today, and how much of it?
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good." ~ Romans 12:9 *** We always need to remember that we cannot hate what God says is evil and an abomination to Him, and entertain ourselves with it. But, we need to continue to grow in replacing that bad entertainment with more diligence in His Word and teaching and discipling others to grow in genuinely following Christ, hating lies, embracing truth, and taking up their cross daily. For that is the fulfillment of the 'Great Commission' ~ "'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations... teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen." (Matthew 28:18, 20)
Okay, so I need to clarify here, as I wrap up for today - For those of you, especially us men (though ladies too), who are actively growing in becoming more reliably engaged - THANK YOU!!! ** For those who see they need to and are wanting to work on it - THANK YOU!!! ~ Let's keep growing in faithfulness, and all the more 'under pressure', looking to Jesus, the Author and Teacher of our faith and obedience. And may we learn to say with the apostles: "... but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." ~ Acts 6:4
Till next time, thanks for your prayers. Let's don't stop; Let's not slow down; but let's keep growing and running the race He has set before us!
your bro/friend and a growing servant/life-slave of Jesus, SH :)