Be cheerful

Today I am posting “Desiderata” (Latin for “desired things”), a prose poem written in December 1933 by Max Ehrmann about attaining happiness in life. If you have never read it before, I’m sure you will find it uplifting.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

(Copied from Rylisms devotion 10 December from E-sword)

God’s blessings in the Beatitudes

I was reading through the beatitudes for my devotions this morning. They are found in. Matthew 5:3-10.

As I was reading through today I realised afresh how God blesses us in our lives. Here are some of my notes.

1. When we recognise our need for Him – He gives us the Kingdom

2. When we mourn – He gives us comfort

3. When we are humble – He gives us the earth as an inheritance

4. When we hunger and thirst for justice – He gives us satisfaction

5. When we show mercy – He shows us mercy

6. When we are pure at heart – He shows us Himself

7. When we work for peace – He calls us His children

8. When we are persecuted – He gives us the Kingdom

So many blessings. So much favour. So much comfort.

One thing I also noticed today was the bookmarks at the beginning and the end. When we recognise our need for Him or are persecuted, He gives us the Kingdom.

Be blessed by the beatitudes today!

Dave

The five crowns for being faithful

Below is some research I am doing for a sermon. I thought I would share it as a blog post…

The Five Crowns, also known as the Five Heavenly Crowns, is a concept in Christian theology that talks about the five crowns that individuals can receive after the Last Judgment.

In the Greek language, stephanos is the word for crown and is translated as such in the Bible, especially in versions descending from the King James Version. These five rewards can be earned by believers, according to the New Testament, as “rewards for faithfulness in this life”.

Crown of Life

James 1:12 – God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

Revelation 2:10 – Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.

The Crown of Life is referred to in James 1:12 & Revelation 2:10; it is bestowed upon “those who persevere under trials.” Jesus references this crown when he tells the Church in Smyrna to “not be afraid of what you are about to suffer…Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Incorruptible Crown

1 Corinthians 9:25 – All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

In the KJV it calls this prize the “Incorruptible Crown”. It is also known as the Imperishable Crown. This epistle, written by the Apostle Paul, deems this crown “imperishable” in order “to contrast it with the temporal awards Paul’s contemporaries pursued”. It is therefore given to those individuals who demonstrate “self-denial and perseverance”.

Crown of Righteousness

2 Timothy 4:8 – And now the prize awaits me–the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing.

The Crown of Righteousness is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8 and is promised to “those who love and anticipate” the Second Coming of Christ. These Christians desire intimacy with God.

Crown of Glory

1 Peter 5:4 – And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

The Crown of Glory is discussed in 1 Peter 5:4 and is granted to Christian clergy, who “shepherd the flock in unselfish love being a good example to others” 1 Peter 5:2-3

Crown of Exultation/Rejoicing

1 Thessalonians 2:19 – After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown [of rejoicing – KJV] as we stand before our Lord Jesus when He returns? It is you!

Philippians 4:1 – Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

The Crown of Exultation is also known as the Crown of Rejoicing. Talked about in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 and Philippians 4:1, it is given to people who engage in evangelism of those outside the Christian Church. In the New Testament, Paul earns this crown after winning the Thessalonians to faith in Jesus.

So, we will be rewarded for our service in this life. Everything we do for God will be added to our account. Now I must admit, generally I am not motivated by rewards, I serve God out of my love for Him and my desire to please Him. But on the days when it is hard, it helps me to know that God sees my efforts and He will reward me.

Love hurts at first sometimes

2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NLT – I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. [9] Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. [10] For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. [11] Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.

In this passage the Apostle Paul explains why he sent a strong corrective letter to the Corinthians. And why it was so harsh in its wording.

Although Paul felt sorry at first, he knew he had to speak the truth in love. This is because he wanted God’s best for the church at Corinth and for the individual people.

Sometimes we need to be told firmly and honestly. It may hurt at first, but it really is for our own good.

I have been on the giving end and the receiving end of harsh words. It pained me to be the messenger and it pained me to be the receiver. Probably equally for both!

But with God the ultimate goal is not our long term pain, it is repentance and a life dedicated to God and His Kingdom.

We all need to live in that place of surrender to God. And sometimes we need to a kick to jolt us back to where we should be living.

As I type I am reminded of two verses from Proverbs and Psalms…

“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭94:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Love can hurt at first sometimes, but long term it is worth it.

Blessings,

Dave