It’s A Wonderful Life

In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey is afforded the opportunity to see what the world would like if he had never been born. As he moves about Bedford Falls, he learns how different everything is. His guardian angel, Clarence, points out, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Every day…   every single day, we face choices as to how we treat those around us. Whether we realize those choices or not, and even if we do not even know the people we are affecting, those decisions and actions have impact on others. Whether you are at home with your family, at work with those you share your career with, or just those you pass in public, at the grocery store, at the coffee shop getting your favorite coffee, at the gym, the library, or anywhere else your day may take you. You will interact with others in a variety of ways.

So how do you treat others? And if there is no direct interaction, how do you present yourself?

Jesus said in  Luke 6:31(NIV) that famous verse:

Do to others as you would have them do to you.

It is a simple but profound statement that has permeated the roots of most if not all morals and religions in the world in some form or fashion. No one anywhere debates the wisdom this. It is taught to our children from a very early age and has been given the simple title of The Golden Rule. But, as easy as it sounds, so many of us have a hard time practicing this.

If this was truly practiced, the word revenge would not be in our vocabulary. Wars would be significantly lessened if not extinct. Politician Ron Paul once said, “Maybe we ought to consider a Golden Rule in foreign policy: Don’t do to other nations what we don’t want happening to us. We endlessly bomb these countries and then we wonder why they get upset with us?”

In Romans 12:16 (NIV), we read

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

and in Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

and finally we read Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

I find it somewhat amazing that we have the Ten Commandments, and Jesus simplifies that down to two in Mark 12:28-31:

…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

and that this should be all we need to carry out the task of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. But yet, Paul gives us a number of verses that reinforce how to do that. And to this day, we listen to sermons, Bible Studies, and so forth on the subject because we struggle so much with this. Unfortunately, as long as we are human, we will have this issue! But let us strive to be more like Christ each day and to love our neighbors, and to truly do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Then we exude Christ to those around us.

If we are ever given a chance to what the world would be like without us, may we see a great difference in our world. We should recognize the evidence of what our lives have added by having Christ shine through us to those around us. We, as believers, are all ministers for Christ.  Therefore, live every day… every day… so that your life’s legacy is told in the lives of others around you.

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved

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Handling Change

How often are you thrown by a change in your life? Good or bad? How well do you handle it? Nobody likes change when it happens, especially negative change. Anxiety rises, and some handle that better than others.

When working towards a pilot’s license years ago, I quickly learned that most of what I studied and practiced was for emergency situations. If this unexpected event happened, then this. If this, then that. One circumstance would be studied after another. This training was in place to be able handle that unexpected change in the normal routine of flight. The more prepared I was, the better I could handle whatever circumstance arose, without the anxiety and indecision that would be there otherwise. I would have faith in my training and skills to handle the problem and realize everything would work out the best it could because of that.

How well you know God and have faith in Him is the same way. Trusting in Him, resting in your faith and knowing He never changes are things that can change your life. Believing down to the roots of your soul He is always there and keeps His promises allows you to let your anxieties go and put your complete trust in Him.

The Bible tells us he never changes in Hebrews 13:8 (ESV):

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

and in James 1:17 (ESV):

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

and in Malachi 3:6 (NKJV)

For I am the Lord, I do not change

We can trust this because it says in Psalm 18:30 (NIV):

As for God, his way is perfect: 
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.

Some people will argue He does change because there are examples in the Old Testament of Him changing His mind. Because He is a loving and compassionate and loving God, He has shown He CAN change His MIND, if people change their behavior:

This is shown in Jeremiah 26:3 (NKJV)

Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings.

But just because he can change his mind, doesn’t mean he has to, as he proves with Balak in

Numbers 23:18-20 (NKJV)

Then he took up his oracle and said:

“Rise up, Balak, and hear! 
Listen to me, son of Zippor!  
“God is not a man, that He should lie, 
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do? 
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? 
Behold, I have received a command to bless;
He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
As well as with King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:28, 29
At this Samuel said to him: “Jehovah has ripped away the royal rule of Israel from you today, and he will give it to one of your fellow men who is better than you. Moreover, the Excellency of Israel will not prove false or change his mind, for He is not a mere man that he should change his mind.”

We must remember God can change his mind, but HE never changes.

Deuteronomy 32:4

The Rock, perfect is his activity, For all his ways are justice.A God of faithfulness who is never unjust;Righteous and upright is he.

1 John 4:8

Whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.

The Holy Bible contains 7,487 PROMISES made by God to man according to Professor Dr. Herbert Lockyer (1886-1984)  In his 1962 book titled “All The Promises Of God,”

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Ezekiel 12:28 NIV

“Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Knowing the Lord never changes, but He is a compassionate and loving God who keeps His promises, it should be simple thing for us to give up all of worldly concerns, needs, problems, anxieties, etc. to Him. We believe He will handle everything according to His divine purpose. We trust in Him much more than we trust in our emergency flight training. Our faith in Him grows as we give Him more and more of our lives. We need to give him all of it!

The secret to this?

A close relationship with God.

How do we get this?

Begin with 1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  Wow! There are two promises right there! He will forgive our sins! He will purify us from all unrighteousness! And we already know he will keep those promises! These will work immediately to make us closer to Him. Evidence of that will be increased joy, happiness and peace, although not all problems will disappear. we are still physical residents of this earth. But I often remember one of my favorite quotes, which I’ve used countless times, by C.S. Lewis. He said, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

Add this to another favorite quote, this one by A.W. Tozer said, “We are saved to worship God. All that Christ has done in the past and all that He is doing now leads to this one end.”

By worshiping, praying and seeking a closer relationship with God, you will find your faith growing, joy and peace more present in your life, and seeing evidence of God around you in life more than you ever had. Your eyes, ears and heart will be opened to new levels of wisdom bestowed upon you as the Holy Spirit leads. Things you’ve been told for years now will make sense.

Grow your faith and seek God more every day and find Him you will!

© 2017 Marty Hill – Administered By Quaddot Productions – All Rights Reserved

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