Not Far

Closer than I thought

Many years ago we were at an airport to see some friends off on their trip.

It dawned on me I hadn’t seen our four-year-old Andy lately. I looked in every direction, only to realize he was standing right beside me—and I had been unconsciously patting his head all along!

Ever near

God wants people to “seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

“Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet” (Tennyson).

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13-14).

He truly wants to be found.

But we must seek Him.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Far More

stars on the dark

Something to think about . . . .

God never does anything halfway.

He filled the universe with untold billions of stars.

In crossing the Red Sea, Israel walked through on dry ground (no muddy shoes!).

When Jesus fed the multitudes, everyone ate all they wanted—with twelve basketsful left over.

But there’s more . . . .

Paul writes of “the riches of His grace which He lavished on us” (Ephesians 1:7-8).

“He who did not spare His own Son . . . how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

God “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think . . .” (Ephesians 3:20).

Riches . . . lavished . . . freely . . . far more abundantly . . . .

Can words describe it?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Headlines You’ll Never See

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Newsworthy?

Many of the most significant events never make the papers.

Can you imagine any of the following headlines?

SATAN HOLDS MILLIONS OF AMERICANS HOSTAGE

IMMORAL BEHAVIOR HIGHLY SELF-DEFEATING

CHRISTIANS ENDURE STRESS BETTER, STUDY SHOWS

SPIRITUAL INVESTMENTS UNTOUCHED BY RECESSION

HEAVEN CELEBRATES RETURN OF WAYWARD CHRISTIAN

END OF WORLD INEVITABLE—DATE UNCERTAIN

From God’s perspective

No, we won’t be seeing these in the paper, but in God’s economy these are things of eternal consequence.

The world may little note what Christians do, but God never overlooks even the smallest act of service done in His name (Matthew 6:1-4; 10:42; Luke 21:1-4; Hebrews 6:10).

And if He notices, that’s all that matters.

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Untaken Advice

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Input

With all ten of Job’s children dead, his wealth gone, and now his health, his wife advised him, “Curse God and die!”

His response? “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:9-10).

What if he had done as she said? Would he have been better off?

Outcome

The end of Job’s story proves that holding onto God ultimately brings great reward (Job 42:10-17; James 5:11).

True, Job questioned God’s justice and wondered why he suffered as he did, but he didn’t give up on God.

Who can best survive hardship? The person who believes that nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

Nothing.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Do You Believe It?

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Bold statement

Sign seen in a hospital waiting room: “God is greater than any problem I have.”

Any problem?

Greater than cancer or heart disease, job loss and unpaid bills, the threat of crime or war, bondage to alcohol or drugs?

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . . But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:35, 37).

Goliath challenged David; God was greater. Moses faced horrendous obstacles; God was greater. Paul had his thorn; God was greater.

Bold faith

The key was not just that God is greater, but that they trusted Him. And they were not disappointed.

Any problem?

Yes, God is greater.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Lucky You?

Luck language

“You can thank your lucky stars you didn’t get hurt!” “With luck like mine there won’t be a parking place, and I’m late already!”

Imagine this from Paul: “If my luck changes, I’ll be out of jail by next spring.”

Instead he said, “For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ . . .” (Philippians 1:19).

Or this from James: “I’m sorry to hear you’re down on your luck”?

Instead: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2).

The thinking behind our speech

Christians believe that God, not luck, is the source of blessings (James 1:17).

Does our language betray us?

Christians aren’t lucky; they’re blessed!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Discerning the Difference

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Learning to discern

Good vs. evil. Can we tell the difference? Sometimes it’s easy; sometimes not.

“But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

Many issues the Bible does not address–directly.

However, the Bible does reveal God—His values, His character, what He loves and hates.

Knowing God through His word

The better we understand Him, the more clearly we see life through His eyes.

That each person may decide right and wrong subjectively is Satan’s lie.

“. . . a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

What we need is an objective standard by which to evaluate all things.

We have it—the Bible (Psalm 119:105).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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