Our Fading Shadow

Lord, what is man, that You look after him? Or a son of man, that You think of him? Man is like the breath; His days are like a passing shadow. – Psalms 144:3-4

Have you ever wondered how much longer you have, if the life you have remaining will be short? If you want a “bite of potential reality,” you can check out www.deathclock.com! Truth is that life is short for all of us when compared to an eternity with the Savior.

If God has called you into His service (to be clear, if you are a believer, then you have been called), you should have arrived at a sense of urgency about your mission. While, as Christ-followers, we understand that we are already living an eternal life, the earthly portion of that will one day end. Yet, there are many people around the world who have never heard the name of Jesus and never had the opportunity to trust Him (as we have). Some of these people live within easy driving (or even walking) distance of where we live!

We all, by our lives, cast a shadow that ever lengthens as our “day” nears its end. At the peak of its zenith, the shadow cast by a person’s life begins to fade. As the Lord moves us out of our comfortable existence into a deeper partnership with Him, may we all learn to fill our days (and our shadows) with His purposes for the great manifestation of His glory.

No matter what you do, or how you do it, you leave a little footprint, and that’s your legacy. – Jan Brewer

Let’s Make It

On the day that you stood aloof, on the day that strangers carried off his wealth, and foreigners entered his gate and cast lots for Jerusalem — you too were as one of them. – Obadiah 1:11

How often have we said, “We don’t want to get involved,” or “It’s really none of our business,” when an emergency arises or someone we know is passing through a great difficulty? Through His prophet Obadiah, God condemned the nation of Edom because they had adopted such an attitude. When the nation of Judah was being destroyed, Esau’s descendants watched it burn.

Our reasons for “minding our own business,” like Edom’s, can often sound reasonable. We may conclude that it is the person’s own fault for his or her current situation, that getting involved will only mean trouble and heartache, or that our efforts won’t really make a difference – and we may be correct on all counts. Yet, when disaster is looming, indifference is akin to sitting on the curb while the neighbor’s house is on fire. I understand that personal involvement may not be an option, but we can always pray, we can always warn, we can even sometimes get help, and we can always be ready to step in as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Indeed, we are citizens of heaven, not this world, but we live here – now. This is our only time to make a difference. Let’s make it.

It is easy to sit up and take notice, what is difficult is getting up and taking action. – Honoré de Balzac

A Defeated Foe

So, the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. – Revelation 12:17

In His revelation to the apostle John, God (through His messenger) describes Satan as a dragon out to destroy Israel (here depicted as “the woman”). When Satan failed to eradicate the chosen people of God (a pattern observed throughout her history), he went after her “children.” Why did Satan seek to destroy Israel? Simply put, from Israel would come Judah and from Judah would come David and from David would come the Messiah who would ultimately free mankind from sin, death, and Satan’s temporary rule. Our enemy is not omniscient, but he is intelligent.

Satan surely thought he had won when the Messiah was murdered, but he was obviously unaware of God’s triumphant plan. And now, though clearly a defeated foe, he still wars against Christ’s Body. In fact, Scripture indicates that he is all the more furious, because his time is short. Like a two-year-old that thinks he will get his way by screaming all the louder, Satan screams and roars for attention.

There will be days (times) when it seems like the Devil is winning. Surrounded by cultures that reject righteous principles, we might be tempted to despair and begin to hope a little less. But, let us stand firm, for Satan will not prevail, no matter how loudly he may wail.

Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly intercourse than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation. – Charles Spurgeon

Make Ripples

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. – Micah 5:2

Given the sheer volume of Old Testament prophecy that points to His existence, it is difficult to understand why more Jews have not accepted Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. Of course, to accept the Messiah as Savior one must do so by faith and to come by faith is to reject works (keeping the Law), their great stumbling block. Then again, the thought of the Messiah coming from a place of insignificance was also beyond comprehension. Surely, He would be born in Jerusalem!

There have been times in my ministry when I have wondered if a difference was truly being made through my meager efforts and if lives were truly being changed for the glory of God. In the broad scope of God’s Kingdom work, was the seemingly small contribution we were making, significant? Yet, all we need to do is look to Bethlehem for the answer. She was the most insignificant of all the Judean villages, yet into her was born the Savior of the world.

If we commit ourselves to spreading the gospel, some will accept the message, but many will not. Of course, we may not see a “great” work of God where we are, but our faithfulness may result in the one coming to Christ who will make a significant difference in the lives of others.

The key to an effective, life-altering ministry is not in “making a big splash,” but rather in gently and consistently disturbing the waters, one pebble at a time.

Each life creates endless ripples. – Frank Herbert

Walk On

These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. – Genesis 6:9

Prior to the catastrophic, global flood that would eliminate nearly all mankind, when the world had become an extremely sinful place (and we think it’s bad now?), Noah stood apart from the masses. He was a blameless, righteous, man of integrity at a time when, apparently, no others existed.

Perhaps, you are the only believer in your family. You may very likely be the only Christ-follower in your workplace. I know some people who stand alone for Jesus in the midst of their entire village, but can we really imagine what it must have been like to be the only righteous person on earth? To be the only person who knew God or even acknowledged His existence? A man like that would need a friend, someone to talk to, someone with whom to commiserate, but who did Noah have?

Noah’s best friend was God Himself. Noah walked with God. Hundreds of years after Adam had rejected God’s presence, Noah welcomed it. He sought it. He desired to spend time with His Creator. The key to Noah’s personal (and necessary) strength and the key to our own fortitude today, the secret to living a righteous life in the midst of wickedness, is (and a has always been) a strong walk with God.

Where will you go today and Who will go with you?

To talk with God, no breath is lost. Talk on! To walk with God, no strength is lost. Walk on! – E. Stanley Jones