|Vol. 14 No. 1 January 2012
If I Knew Then…
Ernest S. Underwood
Did you ever say, “If I knew then what I know now…"? There was a rich man who certainly expressed this concept. His story is found in Luke 16:19-31. He is the one that is associated with the beggar Lazarus. There are several things that he realized too late for him to change. Let us notice them. He Learned…
- His material possessions in life did not assure him of riches in eternity (19, 23).
- God’s grace is limited. While on earth, he could avail himself of God’s saving grace. In torment, he was not even granted one drop of water to cool his tongue (24).
- God’s power must be recognized. While on earth, man may take a position against God. However, God has the last say (23a).
- He should have had a concern for the lost of the world (27-28).
- Once life is finished on earth, there is no altering of one’s eternal destiny (26).
- A life of faithfulness returns an eternity of joy and comfort (22a, 25b).
- Eternal fire and torment are a reality (24).
Some say, “It is never too late to learn.” It was for the rich man, and it may become so with you.
A Christian New Year All Year Long!
Mark N. Posey
Resolutions are typical this time of year. Most of us will make a resolution, promising to make changes in our lives for the better. Therefore, commitment, dedication and determination are in full swing and great abundance. Losing weight, exercising more, better financial stability and enjoying life rank high on most lists. However, as February rolls around, fires cool and steam fizzles, but it should not, especially for Christians. Resolute and resilient Christians should blaze the trail in the land called “Promises Kept,” but in what areas? In what ways will this year be any different than the previous?
- This year I will lose the weight of sin. I will lay aside every weighty transgression, encumbrance and distraction, and run with perseverance the Christian race (Hebrews 12:1-2). I will not run a competitive race, but a cooperative one. I am running with, not against, my brethren.
- This year I will exercise greater discernment between good and evil. I will repetitiously and habitually train my spiritual senses to discern good from evil (Hebrews 5:14). In doing so, my ability to teach God’s Word will dramatically increase; I will go from being a student to being a teacher.
- This year I will save the souls of my friends and family. Jesus is the only Savior; so, I will live like Him, love like Him and labor like Him in bringing my loved ones to His precious and redeeming blood (1 Peter 1:19).
- This year I will improve my spiritual health. I will consume large quantities of spiritual meat (Hebrews 5:13-14). My hunger and thirst for righteous-ness (Matthew 5:6) will help me grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). I will be faithful and fit for the Lord!
- This year I will better organize my thoughts, words and deeds. I will clean out all the evil from my heart, mind and soul, replacing it with virtuous and praiseworthy thoughts, words and deeds (Colossians 3:5-17; Philippians 4:8).
- This year I will enjoy my spiritual life more. I will rejoice in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4), repentance of sin (2 Corinthians 7:9, 10), “joy of faith” (Philippians 1:25), “the Lord” (Philippians 4:4) and difficulties that strengthen my faith (James 1:2-4). I will realize more than I have in the past that lasting joy comes from a Christ-like mind (Philippians 2:5), faith filled heart (Philippians 1:3-11), soul centered hope (Hebrews 6:19; 1 Peter 3:15) and love motivated life (Matthew 22:37-39).
- This year I will quit making excuses and always abound in the Lord’s work. I will conduct myself as an effective and faithful worker for the Lord (Ephesians 2:10). I will refuse the notion that my efforts for Him are empty and worthless (1 Corinthians 15:58b). I will work, not to gain salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5), but to display it (James 2:18).
Resolutions are only as good as the ability and dedication of the promise maker to reach their goal. Therefore, my work is clear and ordered! I must determine to be unwavering, grounded and unmovable in my commitment to reach spiritual goals. This year is for the Lord!
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