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The Rewards of Diligence

Paul encouraged the Romans not to lag in diligence (Rom. 12:11). The Greek word for diligence is "spoudazo" which means to be zealous and do things with all our might.

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about diligence and compares it to laziness, for example: "the hand of the diligent shall bear rule but the slothful shall be under tribute" (Prov. 12:24; KJV). The hand of the diligent person will be a good steward of their time and God given gifts; they will push through their circumstances with a vision of what God can do for them.

There are several scriptures that encourage diligence, for example in the Old Testament we are encouraged to diligently listen to the voice of the lord so we can experience God as our healer (Ex. 15:6). In Deuteronomy chapter 2 and verse 1 it again says that if we will listen diligently we will be overtaken with blessings. We are also told to teach our children diligently in that same verse. In Hebrews chapter 4 and verse11 we are told to be diligent to enter into rest; in Galatians chapter 2 and 10 we are told to be diligent in remembering the poor. These are just a few and there are more. I encourage you today not to lag in diligence but to be "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Rom. 12:11).

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How is Your Joy Today?

The word joy is found throughout the Old Testament. In the Hebrew it means: gladness, joy, mirth and rejoicing. In the Greek of the New Testament, the word is defined as: cheerfulness, calm, delight, gladness, exceedingly great joy.

God wants our joy to be full (John 16:24). Nehemiah tells us that: “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8:10; KJV). Things in our daily life may cause us joy but our true joy comes from God (Ps 16:11); in fact, as Christians, we enter into God’s joy (Ps 51:12; 1 Peter 1:8; Matt 25:11).

This joy is founded in knowing who we are in Christ (2 Cor 5:21), our security in him (Heb 13:5), what we have in him (2 Cor 5:17) and his love (Eph 3:19). “In thy presence is fullness of joy” (Ps 16:11).

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). As we spend time with God, in his word and in prayer, drawing close to him and surrendering to him, the Holy Spirit works in us to bring this joy. No one can take our joy from us (John 16:22), unless we allow them to. This joy will undergird us in trials (James 1:2). Jesus went to the cross for the joy of knowing what his sacrifice would achieve (Heb 12:2).

Spend time with God today and let his joy rise up and overwhelm you.

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God Pleasers

In Ephesians chapter 6 and verses 5-7, Paul tells us that we should not do things to please men but as unto God. Chasing after the affirmation of man is an elusive and frustrating trail to follow. We should encourage each other but the true affirmation that edifies and uplifts is to hear God say: "well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Matt 25:21; KJV).

God wants his fullness to be exhibited through us (Eph 1:23). We are his hands and feet and voice upon this earth (Matt 28:19). We are not just workers on the job but ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20), not just shoppers in the store but lights shining for him (Matt 5:14). We are not just faces in the crowd at social gatherings but salt (Matt 5:13); salt should season things wherever it is spread.

On the job we should be on time, go the extra mile: "do all things without murmerings or disputings" (Phil 2:14; KJV). We need to have God in our spiritual eye all day so that we please him and hence our employer. We can do this, we have the greater one on the inside of us (1 John 4:4) and in the word it says that: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13; KJV).

What did the Lord, in the parable of the talents, say to the good servants? “Enter into the joy of your Lord"(Matt 25:21; KJV). I don't know about you but enjoying God’s abundant life (John 10:10) sounds good to me.

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Made Righteous

We all sin but we are no longer sinners (1 John 1:8). Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross the price was paid for our sins past, present and future (1 Cor 15:3). As born-again Christians, God no longer sees us as sinners he sees us in Christ, the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:21). Righteousness basically means right standing with God.

Satan may try to condemn us but we have an advocate (Rom 8:34), Christ Jesus, who pleads our case before God (1 John 2:1). As God’s children and members of his kingdom (Col 1:13,) we are still tempted to sin and we do sin (1 John 1:8), but the word says that if we repent and ask for forgiveness, God is quick to forgive us (1 John 1:9).  Now that’s good news.

So, how many times will he forgive us in any given day? Well, we are instructed to forgive our brother 7 times seventy times (Matt 18:22) and God is far more loving and merciful than we are. But brother Norman you don’t know what I have done. God forgave David when he repented after committing adultery and murder (2 Sam 11). Don’t be condemned, look to God our loving and merciful father, humble yourself and ask forgiveness with a truly repentant heart.

Now, as Christians we should not go on willfully and deliberately sinning, if we do then there is something very wrong as our spirit (conscience) should convict us of sin if we are born again and in fellowship with God (Rom 2:15). Check yourself; are you truly born again? Have you given your life to the Master? Talk to a mature Christian friend and settle the matter today.

As Christians, we should be quick to repent whenever we sin (1 John 1:9); Sin does not cause us to lose our salvation but it does cloud our fellowship with God, just as in any human relationship (1 John 1:7). Run to your loving father, repent and enjoy unbroken fellowship with him. There is nothing better. God bless you, we love you. Norman and Jean.

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Who's that Knocking?

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" Rev. 3:20 (KJV). A very familiar scripture verse, which has been used greatly to bring people to salvation (myself included). However, this verse was actually intended for a Christian church, albeit a lukewarm church.

Nevertheless, whether we are a non-Christian, a lukewarm Christian or any other kind of Christian, this verse reveals the heart of God. He wants to have fellowship with us; in fact, that is why he created us (Rev. 4:11). He does not force himself on us but is politely knocking and hoping we will invite him in.

Fellowshipping over a meal isn't something you do with a casual acquaintance but a close friend or relative. God wants to have close fellowship with us - why? So, he can minister to us, encourage us, change us and maybe tell us some secrets.

Most people lead busy lives, but make sure you are not too busy to open the door when you hear him knocking.

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