November 7

2 Corinthians 5-6, Psalm 1

Of those attending a Bible based church, only 45% who regularly attend read the Bible more than once a week, over 40% read occasionally (1-2x/month), and 20% say they never read the Bible. For those who go to mainstream denominations, the numbers of those reading the Bible are much less, with many never reading God's Word. The average Christian spends only 1 minute a day in prayer according to a Barna poll. Contrasted with this, consider what the average person spends the majority of their time and words on. Consider our conversations with both Christians and non-Christians and honestly consider what percentage is God-centered as opposed to everything else including sports, work, family life, complaining, etc. Consider how much time we spend focusing on ourselves and our appearance. One study says the average man looks in the mirror 23x/day, the average woman 16x/day. The average woman spends just less than an hour/day with make-up and hair. The average woman spends 335 hrs/yr doing her hair. At the gym, many stare at themselves continuously in the mirror. What we, Christians, must reflect on is are we set apart and different or do we care more about our earthly existence and bodies than God and eternity, and if so, do we show that in how we spend our time and energy.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:1-2, concerning our bodies, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,". Many fear death, and for a good reason. Though most people when asked state that when they die they will go to heaven and state that most or all of their loved ones are in heaven, Jesus says in Matthew 7:14, "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Paul goes on in 2 Corinthians 5:6,8 to share his confidence in eternity, "Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee...We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." When Peter was talking with Jesus in John 13, Jesus responds to him in John 14:1-3, telling him and reassuring him that he is preparing heaven and our mansions, or heavenly bodies for us. Knowing what eternity we still spend the bulk of our time on worthless things. In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul states to believers, that, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." Paul elaborates more on this judgment in 1 Corinthians 3:12-13, "Now if anyone builds on this foundation" (the foundation being Jesus Christ) "with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is."

Some have asked, "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." Unfortunately, too often Christians resemble the rest of the world who judge all things based on earthly standards: attractive/non-attractive, heavy/thin, successful/unsuccessful, rich/poor, etc. But God sees only one difference: saved/unsaved, or for Him/against Him, or His friend/His enemy. What is our focus and how do we see ourselves and the world. The sooner we see things through God's eyes, the sooner we can truly serve as God's heavenly ambassadors on earth. We tend to procrastinate in changing, but Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:2, "...Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." He then goes on to say how we should live in 6:17, "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." If any have not given their life over to Christ, there is no day like today to make that decision and commitment. If any reflect on their lives and realize they look more like the rest of the world than they should, there is no day like today to start separating and living and structuring our lives for Christ.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster