Daily Devotional for Sunday August 5, 2012
Each Year There are Dozens of Award Shows
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, I am a mother of 3 who has our own Bible lesson and praise on Sunday morning instead of going to a church. My husband works Fri-Mon so its just me and my children. I have found when I get involved with a church it turns into a gossip club. Is it wrong for me to teach my children on Sundays instead of them going to Sunday school?
ANSWER: The Bible warns us in Hebrews not to forsake the fellowship of others. Being part of a local church body is an important part of our spiritual journey and growth, especially for children. It is great you have Bible lessons with your children, and you should continue! I hear you about the politics and gossip at church, sadly, that will always be part of any group of people, even in church. I would ask you pray and seek the Lord about finding a good church home, since it is important for your children, and for you and your husband. I will be praying for you and your family as God gudies you.
Each year there are dozens of award shows. The music industry has their Grammy, the movie industry the Oscar, in sports there is the ESPY, there are the catchall awards like the Golden Globe and People's Choice, even the Christian music world has their Dove Award. It is always special when people single out your work and give you praise.
The Bible even encourages us to "give honor to whom honor is due." However, the point of today's Devotional is very simple. Do we live our lives for the praise of man or the praise of God? Let me assure you that it is easier to get the praise of God than of man, and it is praise that is not temporary but eternal!!!
You see, trying to please man is an impossible task, because what is expected and required of us changes so often. You can try your entire life to please man, but you will be most sad and frustrated because it is not possible. The wonderful thing about God is that he has told us in His word what He expects; thus we know without a doubt what is required of us.
The other problem with the praise of man is that it is so temporary. How many people in the entertainment, athletic, any industry you may be part of are "hot" for a period of time, then are all but forgotten. The praise of man is fleeting, temporal. The praise of God is everlasting.
I realize that many of you struggle with this issue, trying to get the praise of someone in your life, whether it be in school, professionally, or in some sort of relationship. I am not saying not to try to please others, or do a good job. What I am saying is that your first priority is to please God. So many email me how distraught they are because they just can't seem to make this person or that person happy. Continue to try, but always remember that your goal should not be to receive the praise of a man, but the praise of God.
I realized a very long time ago that I could not make everyone happy. No matter how hard I tried, it just wasn't possible. I still do my best each day, but in that effort, I never forget that ultimately it is God that I have to please!!!
Even though everyone else may not like what I do, as long as I am doing what God wants, and He is pleased, then I have succeeded. We see the human cry of the prophets in the Old Testament. Complaining how nobody would listen to them. Nobody was willing to heed their warnings. How frustrated they were. I can guarantee you this. None of those guys were ever going to receive any awards from their city, but they were receiving far greater rewards from God because of their faithfulness.
In the Book of Acts, Stephen's reward for preaching the Gospel was death by stoning. Even though those around him were so upset they literally stoned him to death, Jesus rose from His throne and stood to welcome Stephen into heaven because of his faithfulness!!!
I love you and care about you so much. I pray today that you will never forget that it is God who we must ultimately please each and every day. I don't know about you, but like most, I enjoy the praise of man. However, I do not live for that. I live my life for the praise of God and to one day hear those words, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."
***PLEASE PRAY ABOUT SOWING A SPECIAL GIFT TO LIVEPRAYER DURING OUR ANNIVERSARY MONTH. MANY HAVE BEEN BLESSED BY GOD'S WORK HERE, BUT HAVE NEVER GIVEN TO HELP US. ACTUALLY, LESS THAN 1/4 OF 1% OF THOSE WE REACH EVERY GIVE A DIME TO SUPPORT GOD'S WORK HERE. ALL WE HAVE DONE OVER THESE 13 YRS, IMPACTING LITERALLY TENS OF MILLIONS OF LIVES WORLDWIDE, HAS ONLY BEEN POSSIBLE BECAUSE FRIENDS LIKE YOU PRAYED AND MADE THE SACRIFICE TO HELP US BE HERE EACH DAY FOR THE HURTING AND LOST.
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THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE, YOUR PRAYERS, AND YOUR SACRIFCE. THESE 13 YEARS HAVE ONLY BEEN POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF YOU, AND I THANK GOD FOR YOU EACH DAY. KNOW YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE IN MY PRAYERS. WE PRESS ON TOWARDS THE PRIZE!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,