Religion Begins at Home

I ran into a stranger as he passed by, “Oh, excuse me, please,” was my reply.
He said, “Please excuse me, too; I wasn’t watching for you.”
We were very polite, this stranger and I. We went on our way after we said goodbye.

But at home, a different story is told, how we treat our loved ones, young and old.
Later that day, cooking the evening meal, my son stood beside me very still.
When I turned, I nearly knocked him down. “Move out of the way,” I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken. I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.
While I lay awake in bed, I imagined God came to me and said,
“While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use, but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor. You’ll find some flowers there by the door.
Those are the flowers he brought for you. He picked them himself: pink, yellow, and blue.
He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise; you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.”

By this time, I felt very small, and now my tears began to fall.
I quietly went and knelt by his bed; “Wake up, little one, wake up,” I said.
“Are these the flowers you picked for me?” He smiled, “I found ’em, out by the tree.

I picked ’em because they’re pretty like you. I knew you’d like ’em, especially the blue.”
I said, “Son, I’m very sorry for the way I acted today; I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.”
He said, “Oh, Mom, that’s okay. I love you anyway.”
I said, “Son, I love you too, and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.” –Author Unknown

“Let them first learn to show piety at home . . . for this is good and acceptable before God” (1 Timothy 5:4).

Don’t Follow the Crowd

Psalm 1:1

Don’t listen to what the crowd says: Blessed is the man who doesn’t follow the counsel of the ungodly.

Don’t do what the crowd does: nor stands in the way of sinners.

Don’t go where the crowd goes: nor sits in the seat of the scoffer. —Mark Posey

Things Parents Can’t Do

I gave you life but cannot live it for you.

I can teach you but cannot make you learn. I can show you the way but cannot force you.

I can allow you freedom but cannot account for it. I can take you to church services but cannot make you worship.

I can teach you discretion but cannot decide for you. I can offer you advice but cannot accept it for you.

I can love you but cannot force you to love Me. I can teach you friendship but cannot make you a friend.

I can teach you to share but cannot make you unselfish. I can advise you about friends but cannot choose them for you. I can teach you about purity but cannot keep you pure.

I can warn you about sins but cannot make your morals. I love you as a daughter or son but, without your obedience, I cannot place you in my spiritual family, the church. —Author Unknown

“For each one shall bear his own load” (Galatians 6:5).

Mine’s the Only Opinion That Counts

Babe Ruth, the famous baseball player and home run hitter, was once called out on strikes. He argued with the umpire. He said, “There are 40,000 people here who know that last one was a ball, tomato head.”  But the umpire, stone-faced, replied, “Maybe so, but mine is the only opinion that counts.”

How true this is when we apply it to our relationship with God. No matter what the doctrines of men say, no matter what we think, no matter if 40,000 or 40 million people say it is so, we cannot accept it, unless we can find it in God’s inspired Word and we know it is God’s opinion, for it is only His opinion that counts.

Paul knew, near the end of his life, that one opinion mattered—that of the Ultimate Umpire, the Righteous Judge. In 2 Timothy 4:8: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day.” Paul was in prison. He had spent most of his life teaching Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23). Paul had persevered even though he was beaten, thrown into prison, shipwrecked, and stoned and left for dead. He never once took his eyes off of Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). He had only One to please, One to obey, One that would judge his actions and his heart.

In 1 Timothy 4:6, Paul wrote, “If you instruct the brethren in these things [verses 1–5], you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.” Then in verse 10 he adds: “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” Paul knew that he could only trust in the One who saves, the living God.

We need to heed these words of Paul—meditate on the gospel (1 Timothy 4:16). We need to solidify our relationship with God, just as Paul did; so that we can know that we have that “crown of righteousness” that Paul knew he had.

Let’s recognize that God is in control, and give Him the honor and praise due Him. —Author Unknown

Well Said

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot  —Sunday Sermons

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