August 20, 2006

Are you keeping yourself “unspotted from the world?”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael Wright @ 3:24 am

James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (NIV)

I find it very interesting that James places keeping oneself free from the world’s pollution right there with looking after orphans and widows! Down through the ages of time, many people have added to what they believe religion that God accepts is…but for the writer in the Bible, it was rather simple: take care of the orphans and widows AND keep yourself from being polluted by the world. In the KJV, this phrase reads, “and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This is a short recipe for acceptable religion, but there is much involved in living this verse out.

Many people now have LCD “flat panel” screens for their computers. If you have a laptop computer, you definitely have this kind of screen. The LCD screens are susceptible to a condition known as a “bad pixel.” This is a condition where one of the many, many pixels that make up the display goes bad and displays the same color all of the time! This can be an annoyance.

For example, if the pixel goes bad and is stuck with a red color all of the time, it will display a dot of red color on a white screen, a blue screen, etc. You can have the best LCD screen on the market, the brightest most brilliant colors, but yet, there can be this one little spot that persists in always displaying the wrong color. The display isn’t unspotted. It has a spot in it that can make the whole screen worthless.

In the spiritual sense, our lives can be very good…we can be doing many good things for the Lord. We can teach Sunday school, preach, sing, witness, etc., but if we have even one spot of the world in our life, it can cause our spiritual life to be worthless in the eyes of God. God’s Word tells us there will be people who have done many good things, but they will never have been known by our Lord.

Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (NIV)

Ask the Lord to search your heart…is there anything at all, even one “spot of this world” in your life that is preventing your “religion” from being acceptable by God? If you know of something that you are doing, and you know you shouldn’t be doing it, you are committing sin. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” James 4:17. (NIV)

Thank God for His grace that has made a way for all of our sins to be forgiven. But, we must do our best to “keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”


August 1, 2006

Are you working with enthusiasm?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michael Wright @ 8:36 pm

The Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord – you serve the Lord Christ.” (HCSB)

In a very practical sense, I find this passage of scripture hard to live up to! Is it really possible to enthusiastically clean a toilet, or pull weeds when it is 100 degrees outside? What about the part of your job that you absolutely hate? Probably everyone has at least five or ten percent of your job that you just really don’t enjoy doing. We should always do our best – at everything we do – but especially when we are doing that which we really dislike we should not only do our best but also try praising God while we work. Snow White taught the Seven Dwarfs to “whistle while they work” but I suggest we try “praising Him while we work.”

For example: try praising God for a toilet to clean, or how about thanking God for a garden (in which to pull weeds), or thank Him for a house to clean. What about the wonderful task called laundry? Yes, it is hard to do laundry and iron, week after week, but thank God we have clothes to wear (and get dirty).

I like this quote by Nicholas Herman in his book, The Practice of the Presence of God: “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer…in the noise and clatter of my kitchen while several persons are a the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees…We ought not to be weary of doing little things, for God regards not the greatness of the work but the love with which it is performed.”

Wow!! That is powerful…if you really stop and let it soak in. This idea ought to give you a new appreciation for the work you have to do and give you a desire to do it enthusiastically!

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