Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, December 26, 2018

Let Us Obey God With Excellence

Over the past few weeks, my wife and I were blessed to witness a couple of outstanding Christmas performances. We saw Handel’s Messiah at the University of Michigan and the Glory of Christmas at Northridge church. We marveled at the artists who had perfected their craft and performed with excellence.  It was obvious that they had spent hours practicing and they seemed to perform effortlessly.

Have you ever stopped to think about your own life? The life that we lead is also a performance. Not for people, but for God. He is observing who we really are and what we are doing with our talents, time, and treasure. Just as we expect artists to perform with excellence, God also expects excellence from his children.  A good example in the Bible was the prophet Daniel whom received a promotion from the king over his entire kingdom because of his excellent qualities (Daniel 6:3). 

The Bible says that we can do everything that God expects us to do and He gives us the strength to accomplish it (Philippians 4:13). He says that in spite of the temptations of the world, He would always give us a way to escape sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). Even when we begin to doubt ourselves, we can remember that we are victors because He lives in us (1 John 4:4).

As we head into the New Year, our God expects us to allow Him to live in us, move in us and be our God (2 Corinthians 6:16).  He is not looking for excuses, poor performances, half steps, rationalizing, or just trying to get by.  He expects us to grow to become the mature body of Him who is the Head of the Church (Ephesians 4:15).  We are to do our work for God and not just for people (Colossians 3:23). He is not coming back after a body of believers that are procrastinating, blaming others or saying that they will be obedient when they get around to it, perhaps next year and perhaps never.

If actors, athletes, academics, and artists can perform their work so that the world is amazed, we in the body of Christ should come up to His standard because we are to be just like Christ in this world (1 John 4:17).  This year, let us make Him pleased with our work. Let us endeavor to be more disciplined in His word, let us practice kindness and consideration for others, and let us stay in His presence by praying and saying His word in our hearts. This coming year, let us perform with excellence in everything that God has given us to do.

Daniel 6:3
New International Version (NIV)
Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom

Philippians 4:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

1 Corinthians 10:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 John 4:4
New International Version (NIV)
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

2 Corinthians 6:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Ephesians 4:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Colossians 3:23 
New Living Translation (NLT)
23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

1 John 4:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

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