4/16/16: Here’s How

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One of the standard graduation requirements of a good high school is the completion of a 15-20 page research or term paper in English composition class during the senior year. When I taught seniors, to give my students every possible opportunity to experience success with this project, I wrote a term paper handbook. The Stupid Term Paper took my students from the definition of exactly what a term paper is, to a final check to make sure everything had been covered. The handbook addresses such subject matter as how to find a suitable topic, how to organize the research, how not to plagiarize, how to formulate the thesis, how to write and follow the outline, and how to stay on track. I’ve even included templates for the thesis, outline, introduction, and conclusion. The handbook does not merely tell my students to write this paper, but it shows them exactly how to do it. If my students follow the handbook, it is absolutely impossible to fail the paper; in fact, it is almost guaranteed they will receive an “A”.

God is that determined and meticulous with us when it comes to our “graduation requirements.” He wants us to live prosperous, successful Christian lives, so He’s given us a handbook, the Bible. In it is more than the simple admonition to do what He says; in it He has shown us how to complete our life assignment successfully, so we’ll get that well-done-good-and-faithful-servant “A” grade at the end.

One time that God’s “how” is spelled out is in Joshua 22:5. After the children of Israel had taken possession of the Promised Land, Joshua was dismissing the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manassah to return to their lands. Joshua told them, “But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (NKJ). In this one sentence, Joshua lists how we “do the commandment and the law.”

  • Love the Lord your God. This is your passion. Make God the focus and driving force of every aspect of your life.
  • Walk in His ways. This is your action. Your attachment to God is to be evident in not only what you say, but also in how you conduct your days.
  • Keep His commandments. This is your determination. The word “keep” comes from the Hebrew word “shamar” which means “to hedge about, guard, and protect.”
  • Hold fast to Him. This is your intention. “Hold fast” is translated “cleave” in some Bibles. The idea is to hang onto God no matter what.
  • Serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul. This is your profession. “Serve” in Hebrew carries the obvious idea with it of “work.” This is what Jesus meant, and what it means for us, to be about our Father’s business.

Passion, action, determination, intention, profession: this is how to live for God.

Let’s pass life’s test with flying colors.

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©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

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~ by sanewriter on April 16, 2016.

2 Responses to “4/16/16: Here’s How”

  1. Consider the following thoughts in response to your themes from Joshua 22: 5 (Passion, Action, Determination, Intention, and Profession).

    As a Christian, my passion must be to be Christlike and please God the Father in all that I think, say, and do. Remember that God emphatically declared that Jesus Christ is His Son, whom He loved, and in whom He is well pleased (at Jesus Christ’s baptism-Mathew 3: 13-17; Mark 1: 9-13; Luke 3: 21-22) plus a related passage in John 1: 29-34. In addition, God announced to Peter, James, and John at the Transfiguration that Jesus Christ is His Son with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him (Matthew 17: 1-13; and Mark 9: 2-13). Being Christlike requires a deep sacrificial love for others, a completely humble spirit, and total submission to the will of God. We must pursue purity and holiness and ask the indwelling Holy Spirit to develop these character traits within all aspects of our lives.

    God wants His faithful followers to be bold and courageous in sharing God’s commandments with others and adhering to His will in our daily lives. Moses exhorted all Israel to be bold and courageous as they entered and conquered the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 31: 6-7, 23); and He also encouraged Joshua and the people to be bold and courageous in Joshua 1: 6-9, 18; Joshua repeated these words to the Israelites in Joshua 10: 25.
    King David admonished Solomon to be bold and courageous in 1 Chronicles 22: 13 and 28: 20. And Hezekiah told the people of Jerusalem to be bold and courageous while they were being attacked by the Assyrians. Boldness and courage are required characteristics of all people sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ today as God’s Children work to expand God’s Kingdom on earth-here and now.

    Christians must show our determination to live according to Christ’s commands even in the face of severe temptation. Temptation is still rampant in the world. Our spirits may be willing to completely follow Jesus; however, the flesh is still weak. Satan knows each person’s weaknesses and attacks those areas of our lives viciously. The lure of the world is stronger than ever and materialism, status, and pride are still major stumbling blocks. Christians must repeatedly ask Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to help us avoid sin and constantly become more mature Christians.

    We must be very intentional in understanding that God is sovereign and on His throne in the bad times as well as the good. This is a basic truth that we can hold onto.

    Our profession (calling) for all Christians is to support and encourage other Christians and to constantly reach out to the last, least, and lost. We must tell those who dislike us or even hate us that the love of Christ is available for everyone. Romans 8: 1 and Psalm 103: 11-13 point out emphatically that there is no condemnation for all those who believe that Jesus Christ is who He claims to be.

  2. Daddy God, I am so excited that you do not grade on a curve.

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