Habit comes into play as affecting choice; therefore to make one choice is to also affect the next choice.
Meditation Thought: “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
First the cross, then the resurrection. Life in Christ follows this pattern. First the death on the cross of circumstances of all that is foreign to the Spirit’s nature: pride, selfishness, thoughtlessness, blindness, willfulness; then the resurrection of the personality in Christ unencumbered by negative aspects which mar the image of the Father in the personality.
To err is human – but to allow that error to be used by God as a sacrifice on the cross that which keeps us from total obedience to His will is to not only erase the consequences of the error, but to use it as the beginning of a transformation: a change which moves the believer further along the road to closer fellowship and more perception of the Father’s will, with the power to be obedient and trusting to a greater degree than formerly was possible.
We move constantly – either toward adopting the customs of the Kingdom or the customs of the world.
Our choice of reactions to new knowledge and revelations and circumstances determines which customs we choose: habit comes into play as affecting choice; therefore to make one choice is to also affect the next choice.
Bare my soul, O Lord,
To my seeking heart.
I know not who or what I am,
Save Your reveal to me.
Each moment is another facet
Cut across this hard-stone will.
Oh, please, I ask in Jesus’ name,
Shape me as Thou art shaped.
Though there be much hurt
From many blows,
I trust Thee in my pain.
For only by change in me
Can I be Your reflection true.
You are free of that you feared.
Meditation Thought: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” (Colossians 1:21-23)
Little child, do you tremble because you have done wrong and you fear the consequences? You would undo what you did – but you cannot… you shrink from the future, knowing the past makes it unattractive.
And then, One comes before you, taking the consequences, intervening on your behalf, deflecting the pain you were sure would come. You are free of that you feared.
The relief! A chance to start anew! Will you thank the One who rescued you? Will you share the good news that there is an Intermediary who will arrange pardon for your sentence?
Will you have faith, believe that your Friend is true to you, and desires above all else to help you discover life’s purpose and joy?
Will you come into intimate fellowship with this Person who reveals to you your Father and His love, who brings light to remove the fears and the stumbling that exist in darkness?
If you choose, by faith in His Word, by pleasing to do His will – He who is the Image of the Father, for He is One with the Father – to conform yourself to His personality and teachings, then are you the expression of the Father on earth, with the dross of self-will and evil removed from you by the sacrifice of your Friend’s pain substituted for your pain: your appreciation of His stepping in to take the consequences of your unwise choices is the healing of His pain, the releasing of joy in His heart!
…our loving Father… will never shortchange us!
Meditation Thought: “Honor the Lord with the thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” (Proverbs 3:9)
“Honor” – a way of giving respect, of indicating how special someone is to us. It’s easy to say words – they don’t call for sacrifice – but when we give of our substance, we are denying ourselves in order to bless someone else. This takes more thought; do we sacrifice our pleasure for the pleasure of someone else?
When we “sacrifice” we find that our “sacrifice” is transformed into a “blessing” – it may take a number of forms, but nevertheless, there is an exchange. We give a gift, only to learn that the transaction was actually an interchanging of gifts, and when we are having transactions with our loving Father, He will never shortchange us!
…the present determines the character of the future.
Meditation Thought: “…if the householder had known in which part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and not let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:43,44)
You must anticipate the future, realizing that the present determines the character of the future. This will give you strength to conduct yourself as you ought, even when the required behavior is not to your liking at the moment. Not all moments will be “sacrificial” moments – in fact, as you come to rejoice in the perceiving and doing of the will of the Father, more and more activities will be joyful, and fewer and fewer perceived as sacrificial. It is this change in perception that is the moving of the kingdom upon the earth. It comes only by discipline and sacrifice of selfish desires – but the rewards of the discipline and sacrifice are as bountiful as the promised “hundred fold” harvest. It is this knowledge which gives you courage to labor for the moment, particularly when the labor is not to your liking.
The times of reaping the harvest – the unfathomable joy of actually having the promised return, will be carried in your memory as your tools to make the labor easier during the “tilling” times.
The more you experience in planting, tilling and harvesting – whatever area (field) it is in, the greater your wisdom and knowledge is to prompt a bountiful harvest.
This is consistent with the rewards of using whatever “talents” are provided int the most productive ways possible, and also the more provided, the more required. Each portion is either multiplied or not, and the more portions the more dramatic the contrast of results. The “Son of man coming at an hour you do not expect” compares to the owner of the fields checking out the status of your care of them. You cannot “set up” a good appearance for the “inspection” because you have no notice of the inspection time. Therefore, care must be constant and inspection will always reveal good care of the field because good care never ceases, when the laborer is as concerned about the harvest as the owner.
IT is the laborer who realizes that the owner will share the harvest with him who is able to be motivated to do a good job. If he is lazy he eventually cheats himself. It is those who will remove concentration from self alone who will know this, and thus use the present to provide a future of good return for themselves.