Get ready for the appointment before the appointment arrives

I have a dentist appointment for a cleaning today. Too late to prepare for it now!

Preparing for a dentist appointment (i.e. brushing teeth, flossing, rinsing, etc.) the day of an appointment isn’t wise. Why? It should be obvious. Taking care of our teeth is something that needs to be done on a daily basis; getting ready for the appointment well before the appointment is the wise way to do it.

No, I will not be going to my appointment today without evidence of past mistakes. The oral health of my past is my past and I can’t change that (all I can do is trust the repairs my dentist has made and take care of them), but I will be going knowing full-well what kind of efforts I have made before during the last six months to be ready for today.

I do not think any reasonable person will disagree with any of this advice. Personal experience proves it to be true. So how beneficial would it be to take this advice and apply it our spiritual lives?

We all have an appointment that we will keep and no phobia will prevent it (Hebrews 9:27). Preparation is key. And proper preparation doesn’t mean waiting until the day before. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not your judge, but your Judge and my Judge has been imploring people for millennia to use all of our life to prepare for eternity…not the day before (Ecclesiastes 12). Hence, we would all do well to follow his advice to prepare ourselves for the great appointment day (Acts 17:30-31).

Today is the day of salvation because tomorrow may be too late. And it’s much better to live these words than to sing them.

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

#judgment-day, #spiritual-analogies, #spiritual-preparation

Watching the replay for ourselves

I spotted a spiritual lesson in the middle of a historic basketball game last night that was too good not to pass along.

Two players, under the goal, were vying for position when the referee whistled one player for a foul. Well, the accused player couldn’t believe that he would be guilty of such an accusation! The open hands of an innocent plea and a disagreeable disposition of unbelief followed suit…that was until the player looked up at the arena’s replay screen which clearly showed his arm locked around the arm of his opponent; hence: a foul had indeed been committed, he was guilty as charged, he stopped arguing with the referee, and he got back to work.

The lesson is this: when we look at the gospel and see an error in our lives, there’s no point in arguing with God against it – just look at the replay screen, repent, and get back to work.

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:19-25)

#guilt, #honesty, #repentance, #sin, #spiritual-analogies

Don’t ignore God’s calling

God has a calling for everyone, and his calling demands our attention – it shouldn’t be minimized or ignored like a call from someone we don’t want to talk to…you know, the way we treat certain calls today because of caller id. Remember the time before caller id? The phone would ring and we had to answer it without knowing who was calling or why. Today, whether at home or on the road, our phones let us pick and choose which call we want to answer by revealing the caller – and I’m afraid many of us Christians have the same mentality toward the calling of God to serve him in his kingdom. If we maintain such a mindset toward God’s calling we’ll get stuck with the “I’ll call back later” mentality – a mentality which takes it for granted that God will answer us after our intentional repeated ignoring of him; God has caller id too, you know.

For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

#calling, #serving-god, #spiritual-analogies

The Judge Who Wants Us To Succeed

Close to a year ago I read a story about a judge who spoke to a defendant standing before her after she recognized him as a childhood classmate.

Several days ago there was a follow-up on the story with a very interesting twist. As the defendant was being released from jail, the judge was actually there to meet him with a hug. Talk about a judge who wants someone to succeed!

Now that I mention it, there is actually a judge, who will be everyone’s judge, that wants us to succeed – and his name is Jesus.

Despite the fact that we’re all individuals and law-breakers who deserve to be found guilty (Romans 3:23), the judge of the world (2 Corinthians 5:10) wants to know us, and he wants us to receive a leniency of the highest order in order that we may live eternally in him and with him (John 6:37).

The next time you think no one wants you to make it, think about the judge who stretched out his arms wide for you upon the cross and who wants to greet you with the greatest hug ever given as we pass from this life to the next (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

#day-of-judgment, #jesus, #jesus-as-judge, #spiritual-analogies

If we want the shot to count…

I try to look for spiritual/scriptural connections when I watch TV, read news articles and walk around in this world. That’s why when I saw the video below, I immediately thought of, “…if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:5)

I’m not taking anything away from the shot – it’s amazing! But regardless of how amazing it is to our eyes, the shooter was out-of-bounds in the eyes of the rules…so the shot didn’t count.

We would do well to remember Paul’s spiritual admonition to Timothy; if we want our shots in life to count, we need to make sure we’re on the right side of the out-of-bounds line.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

(as a side-note, please keep in mind that TFR does not endorse any advertisements that may appear in connection to the video below)

#christian-living, #spiritual-analogies, #sports, #video

A little "self" promotion on a post about "selfies"

I don’t mention my personal blog here in TFR very much, but, if you would humor me in a little “self”-promotion here, I believe several of you may find today’s post useful as a Bible class topic, a teenage devotional (or even for many adults) or a sermon outline that ties two relevant topics together: the world’s obsession with selfies and some important scriptures that deal with self. Here’s a link if you would like to check it out.

#sermon-outline, #spiritual-analogies

Burr under your saddle?

Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” (Ephesians 4:26)

The burrs under our saddle tend to stay there longer than they have to. They aren’t necessarily hard to remove, but…old fashioned stubbornness, right?

The longer a burr stays put, the more likely our anger is going to get the best of us. Much akin to the little teapot who can’t stand the pressure anymore – it’s going to let us know about it.

But all burr and teapot analogies aside, the apostle Paul ties together anger and sin and putting off until tomorrow what should be done today as a warning for a very good reason; and if you’re human then you know what that reason is.

Anger in and of itself is not wrong, but when that anger gets in and controls us and our plans then the anger has become a danger to our spirit which God desires to contain meekness, gentleness, kindness and holiness. You know, that stuff that anger tends to despise.

So the next time we get a burr under our saddle let us remember that the burr isn’t only effecting us, it’s affecting the way we treat our horse and the other people who are riding with us, and it’ll only get worse if we ride with it through the night. So maybe, just maybe, it’s worth the time it takes to get down off our horse to do a little house…err, make that saddle cleaning.

#anger, #spiritual-analogies