FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Almost

According to news reports, Dylann Roof (Charleston, SC shooter) told police that he “almost didn’t go through with it because everyone was so nice to me.”

Almost.

“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28 KJV)

Almost.

In my book, almost does not count.

The online dictionary defines almost as nearly, virtually, all butnot quite.  Voltaire said, “Good is the enemy of great.”  Well, almost is the enemy of everything and everyone.  Where is the employee who wants to almost get paid on Friday?  Show me the high school or college senior who is happy to almost graduate?  How many athletes are happy to almost win?  If you almost did the right thing, you still did the wrong thing. If you almost have the answer, you still have an unsolved problem. If you almost won first place, you still lost.

Almost is not what you want – to nearly make it, to all but have it, to not quite achieve it.  Almost.  Close.  Possibly very close.

It’s just not good enough.  It’s still a miss.

In Matthew 23 we find Jesus teaching about almost Christians – the Pharisees.  They still exist; those ethical, moral and religious people who are so as long as being ethical, moral and religious serves them.  They relish the recognition, bask in the admiration and savor seats of honor.  Service in the church is not really about service and certainly is not about glorifying God and His Kingdom; they love their positions because of power, respect, control and the spotlight that shines on them and their works – works that are most often good, almost good enough if their hearts were not deceitful and desperately wicked.

The real problem presents when these individuals find that their works and acts no longer serve them.  When morality no longer furthers their personal agendas, they become less moral. When being ethical no longer spotlights them, they become less ethical.  When being religious no longer promotes their station, they become less religious.  John Wesley said they were almost Christians, but they were artificially shaped from the outside experiencing no change on the inside.  They took on the acts and performed the works, but their hearts remained wicked.  They are almost Christian (believers) but also almost heathen (unbelievers). They lie in the worse place of all – the “in between.”  They are neither “hot” nor “cold;” they are miserable and pathetic. (Revelations 3:15-17 CEB)

There is a time when almost matters.  Romans 13:12 warns us that night is almost gone (NASB) and day is almost here (NIV); it is time for us to put aside deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  It is time to be real and time for us to be completely Christian – transformed at the heart level, emptied of ourselves and in total submission to the calling, the will and the work of Christ.

THIS WEEK examine your heart.  Are you almost or completely a Christian?  Do you find yourself wavering between Christ and the world?  Has true change occurred in your heart?  What actions do you need to take?  It is time to put aside deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Click on the SALVATION tab at the top of this page if you need to understand how Christ can be your personal Savior.  (Be sure to encourage our readers with a post of your testimony!)


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Hurry Up; the Red Light is Coming!

My father taught me to drive.

If you knew him, you would find that statement scary.

Let me be clear; I loved my father.  In the words of my paternal grandmother, I loved him better than Peter loved the Lord.  I was probably 30 years old before I thought he could do wrong.  He and I were like two peas in a pod.  We would stay up late at night talking and laughing.  My mother would scream down the hall, “Go to bed you two!”  And he and I would laugh and keep talking.

My sister and I were reminiscing just recently.

Who got up when we were coughing during the night?  Daddy.  He gave you some cough syrup and poured most of it down your pajamas because he was still half asleep.

Who made you rake the leaves with him and then let you jump into the pile?  Daddy.  Then we raked them again and tied them in big white sheets.

Who woke you up in the middle of the night, carried you on his back to the car and took you (still in PJs) to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts because it was time for the “Hot Now” sign?  Daddy!

And who taught me to drive?  Daddy.

Now, I loved him, but he was a horrible driver.  He wrecked his cars and then he wrecked my first car.  He would speed to work every morning because he never left home in time.  He passed 2, 3, 4 cars at a time.  He fell asleep at traffic lights then took off when the lanes next to him moved and crashed into the rear end of those in front of him.  Forgive me for telling this, Daddy – but He passed a stopped school bus or two in his day.  And he told me (true story) that the yellow light meant “hurry up ‘cause the red light’s coming.”  Once I put on brakes as I approached the intersection and the light was changing.  He said, “No, squeeze the lemon!”

Isn’t that what we do when God seems slow to move?  When He doesn’t answer, doesn’t move, doesn’t open the door, we rush ahead of Him to make things happen in our desired timing.  But, in the words of Dr. Phil, “How has that worked for you?”  Impatience and acting independently of God does not work.  He asks for our obedience, and red lights are often part of His strategy and plan. We read in Revelations 3:7 (NIV) that “what He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.”

In Genesis we learn of Joseph who waited years for the fulfillment of a God-given dream. Read the story; the wait was more than worth it. God opened a door wide for him and to the benefit of his family. If He did it for Joseph, He will do it for you.

God’s timing is perfect. Obey His signals – including His red lights and yellow lights. As Joyce Meyer says, “Trusting God brings life; believing brings rest.”

And patience brings green lights!