Subject: The Christian Walk
A Life Consumed by the Things of God
Do the things of God consume your life? Look for a moment at this example:
Aunt Vertie, one of the godliest women I have ever heard about, was once asked the meaning of "praying without ceasing." She replied: "Well, it means what it says:
"When I put on my clothes in the morning, I thank God for clothing me in the righteousness of Christ.
"When I wash in the morning, I ask God to cleanse me from my sin.
"When I eat breakfast, I thank God for being the Bread of Life.
"When I clean house, I ask God to be merciful and cleanse the houses of the world from sin.
"When I talk with people throughout the day, I ask God to save and to grow them in Christ, and to meet their particular needs.
"When I see strangers or crowds of people on the streets, I pray for the salvation of the people of the world."
On and on the list could go. Aunt Vertie prayed all day, using the events of the day to remind her of the prayer that was needed to reach the world for hrist. What a walk! A life worthy to be called Christian!
Practical Illustrations-Galatians-Ephesians, by Leadership Ministries Worldwide
Finding the Real Pearl
"The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one priceless pearl, he went and sold everything he had, and bought it" (Matt. 13:45-46).
As Judy Woodward Bates says in an article in Baptist Press, hardly anybody wants to put all his eggs in one basket. Yet here in Jesus' parable is a merchant who willingly sold everything he had to buy a priceless pearl.
He got an unheard-of bargain, Bates noted. He exchanged his goods "with their pathetic mortal price tag for something immortal beyond valuing. There was no possible way for the man to pay its price. No one could. So how did he acquire it? In a totally unfair transaction-Jesus Christ has already paid the price. He is the Kingdom. He is that one priceless pearl.
"The man in the parable had tried everything-pearl after pearl, religion after religion. All of them seemed to have value, but none of them filled that God-shaped void inside him. He gave to up "everything he had" for the Real Thing, that "one priceless pearl.
"In the Christian life, there is no partial exchange. The Bible says you're either in or you're out. Are you holding anything back? Is your life fully submitted and surrendered to Christ? Nothing you're hanging onto is worth an inkling of the value of what you're missing out on in the Kingdom. Jesus says we must give to Him what He was willing to give for us-everything."
Judy Woodward Bates is a freelance writer, author, speaker, and creator of Bargainomics, a Bible-based time and money management philosophy and the author of a new book, Blessedly Budgeted Women's Events. Her Website is www.bargainomics.com.
Subject: Small Things Matter
The Gift Certificate
My wife was making a purchase at a local store when she remembered our local church had given her a $50 gift card for her birthday. Sherry handed the card to the clerk who, on scanning it, exclaimed "What in the world?" When we looked at the receipt we saw at the bottom this notation:
Payment by gift certificate: $6.42
Remaining value (of certificate): $4993.58
Suddenly my wife's $50 gift certificate became a $5,000 gift certificate! How did that happen? Well, when the $50 certificate was sold to the church, the salesperson forgot to put in the decimal, or else put the decimal in the wrong place. A misplaced decimal point caused that little card to be in major error.
Small things do matter in life, and small things matter in eternity. God told Zerubbabel that blessing would come "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit ... despise not the small things" (Zech. 4:6, 10). Small sins and indiscretions destroy a life, just as wild animals destroy a vineyard. People say "it is but a little sin"-and then discover to their horror that the little sin, like a little fox, has spoiled the vines (cf. Song of Solomon 2:15). A little unbelief and a little procrastination will cause a person to leave this life unprepared to meet his Maker. A little failure to surrender your life to Christ while it is today will lead to an eternal stay in a Lake of Fire that cannot be quenched (Mark 9:44, 46, 48).
David Buffaloe, pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church, Lexington, Tennessee
On a late summer day in 1894, Charles and Lettie Cowman did the unthinkable. They were really quite content with their jobs, friends, church, and home. Then on this day, they attended a missions conference in Chattanooga, Tenn., led by A. B. Simpson.
Before the left hand knew what the right hand was doing, they had placed one entire month's pay and Charles' expensive gold watch in the offering plate. Next, they both stood tall when Simpson asked who would commit their life to missions. What were they thinking?
Soon they were on their way to Japan. During their service there, they began a thriving Bible institute. They also founded the Oriental Mission Society-building so solid a foundation that today OMS is still active in reaching the Orient for Christ.
If that wasn't enough, Lettie Cowman found time to collect and edit the best-selling devotional, Streams in the Desert. The wondrous blessings of God's service far, far outweighed their once neat little lives.
What were they thinking? God promises: "Give, and it will be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over will men give into your bosom" (Luke 6:38).
J. Kenneth Bassett, Timeless Signatures © 2003