Faithlife
Faithlife

Life's Ledger-h

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A statement of profit and loss

Scriptures: Hosea 10:12, Philippians 3:7-14, Mark 8:34-36

1.  Life Investment.  What are you putting into life?

How do I bring myself to do the right thing when everyone else seems to be getting ahead by doing the wrong thing

Difficult to plant certain things because we know that the yield is modest and slow.  I remember the first time that I was faced with the prospect of purchasing life insurance.  It seemed so ridiculous to spend money that I needed now for something that I might be able to secure later.  There are certain things in life that we know we are going to need and we know that we could need them at any time but we want to push them as far away as we can from the present moment.  There are young folks here today who believe as much as the most saintly person that they will stand before God someday and they hope to be able to stand confidently before God but they are not interested in planting righteousness today.  It’s not exciting.  It doesn’t appeal to human appetites and desires.  They worry that they might miss out on something that they should be experiencing.  The same sort of thing carries on into adulthood.  We don’t do what we know we should do.

It is not applauded by our society.  There is nothing newsworthy about it.  Nice guys finish last.  You are most likely to be taken advantage of.

What do I get out of it in this world?  Is there anything of value to be gained by playing the game of life according to God’s design or His rules?

There is a pay off in this life.  If we persevere we will outdistance others in one way or another.  God may choose to display a variety of things in our lives.  His blessing.  His faithfulness.  His sufficiency.

It’s like playing the game with more restrictive rules that work against me.  Playing tennis – I have to hit in the more restrictive singles court while my opponent gets to use the more generous doubles court.

Ø      Most people are looking for God’s total cooperation in our lives.  (Ill. From personal experience this week – man expecting God’s best and crafting his won way through life.)  We are acutely aware of God’s failures. Generally we want a minimal investment and a maximal return.  We have high expectations from God and a relatively low sense of obligation to Him.  We want God to be who God ought to be according to “Me CEO”.  If it were up to us we would sit God down and give Him a performance review.  In all practical purposes we do that all the time.  The state of your relationship with Him today is a result of the latest “performance review” that you have given God.  You’re not serving Him actively today because he has failed you.

Ø      A relationship with God is meant to be a partnership, God of course being the Senior Partner. 

“He who observes the wind [and waits for all con­ditions to be favorable] will not sow;’ says Solomon, “and he who regards the clouds will not reap (Ecclesiastes 11:4 AMP). If we wait for everything to be in our favor before setting out on the road to achieve­ment, we’ll probably never reap a harvest.

While sowing, however, we must remember that God not only planted the dreams in our hearts, but it is He who is working through us. Norman Grubb reminds us in his book The Spontaneous You that we are the “human means by which God is doing His own work—and that’s all:’ Without this understanding, we are subject to being caught up” in that frustrating, ulcer-causing, nervous-breakdown-producing rat race of ‘doing our best for Him.”’ The God who speaks gently would have us avoid that.

When we give ourselves to a project, we’re to recog­nize that it is God at work within us, not we ourselves apart

Our experience of God is an expression of our sowing.  The people that I know who are experiencing God most fully are sowers of righteousness.  They are those who put themselves in positions where they need Him.  If you want to find the fruit you've got to get out on a limb.  Parable of the talents - those who are productive are the recipients of that which is taken from those who are non-productive

 

Matthew 25:14 ¶ "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.  15  To one he gave five talents {A talent was worth several hundred pounds.} of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.  16  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.

 17  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.  18  But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.  19  "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  20  The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. `Master,' he said, `you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'  21  "His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'  22  "The man with the two talents also came. `Master,' he said, `you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'  23  "His master replied, `Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'  24  "Then the man who had received the one talent came. `Master,' he said, `I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  25  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'  26  "His master replied, `You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  27  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.  28  "`Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  29  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  30  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Ø      We are often limited by our mind set.  Once we get our minds set on something there is little spiritual sensitivity that remains.  Purchases – when we fall in love with something then we are at the mercy of a salesman.

Romans 8:1 ¶ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, {Some later manuscripts Jesus, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit,} 2  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

 3  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, {Or the flesh; also in verses 4, 5, 8, 9, 12 and 13} God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. {Or man, for sin} And so he condemned sin in sinful man, {Or in the flesh}  4  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. 5  Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6  The mind of sinful man {Or mind set on the flesh} is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7  the sinful mind {Or the mind set on the flesh} is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9  You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 ¶ But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 12  Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14  because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. {Or adoption} And by him we cry, "Abba, {Aramaic for Father} Father

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

 

Ø      A preoccupation with one’s self and one’s spiritual liberties or freedoms is an indication of a desire to live as independently of God as possible.

2.  Life’s Returns  What are you getting out of life?

Reap the fruit of unfailing love.  What is the fruit of unfailing love? 

Ø      Much of it is here and now.  I can say that God has never failed me.  There have been many anxious times.  There have been times of discouragement relative to life, ministry, family.  That’s not so strange though.  I really don’t know of anyone in the biblical record who did not share these experiences that we all continue to share today.

Ø      I can say with all certainty that I have failed God.  To fail however implies that one has tried and fallen short.  You cannot fail if you have never tried.  You can only fail to try.

Ø      I can say that God does not reckon my failures against me.  When in the process of trying to please God I fail, grace is there always and forever.  I have always know Him to want to pick me up, get me squared around and encourage me on.

3.  New Ventures.  You already have what you need to get what you really want.

The scripture tells us to “break up” your unplowed ground.  Are there areas in your life where the sod has never been turned.  Hosea says that it is time for a new experience, a time to try something different.

Perhaps a new consciousness that guides you every hour of every day.  A consciousness that every action, every response, every interaction that you have with people somehow counts for the kingdom.  I am going to make every area of my life potentially fruitful for God.

God really has nothing more to give you than He has already given in Christ.  He is waiting for you to turn the sod.  It’s ground breaking time.

4.  New Directions.  Knowing when the time is right.

It is time to seek the Lord until He comes and showers His righteousness on you.  This is not a passive pursuit.  It is a diligent and endless search to know more of God and to allow yourself to be used by Him for His glory.

That's God

Have you ever been just sitting there and all of a sudden you feel like doing something nice for someone you care for... THAT'S GOD... he talks to you through the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever been down and out and nobody seems to be around for you to talk to... THAT'S GOD... he wants you to talk to him.

Have you ever been thinking about somebody that you haven't seen in a long time and then next thing you know you see them or receive a phone call from them... THAT'S GOD... there is no such thing as "coincidence."

Have you ever received something wonderful that you didn't even ask for, like money in the mail, a debt that had mysteriously been cleared, or a coupon to a department store where you had just seen something you wanted, but couldn't afford... THAT'S GOD... he knows the desires of your heart...

Have you ever been in a situation and you had no clue how it is going to get better, but now you look back on it... THAT'S GOD... he passes us through tribulation to see a brighter day...

Have you ever lost your sermon notes just before you had to preach and somehow recovered them?  That’s God too!

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