Angry in Our Own Righteousness

"Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison." Acts 8:2-3

Thoughts for Today:

I find it interesting and not accidental that the words "Godly men" were used to describe those who mourned and buried Stephen. "Godly men" implies men who believe in our God. Saul believed in God too. But the fact that these men "mourned deeply for him" is in stark contrast to the picture we have of Saul, who is like a rabid beast -- with one purpose -- to destroy the church (dragging off to prison, out of their homes both men and women).

Gamaliel, the leader of the Sanhedrin had advised a cautious wait and see approach towards this new Christian movement (Acts 5:38-40). Saul appears to have completely disregarded these instructions. As we can see through Saul's example: too much passion for righteousness can create anger towards others with opposing views; anger can lead to errors; errors many times turn into guilt; and guilt can convert or pervert passion for righteousness into blind and compassionless persecution and/or violence. This is the cycle we see in Saul and it is a clear warning for us as well when we begin to feel angry in our own righteousness.

This same type of passion for righteousness -- turned wrong -- exists today in our country. Can you list a few examples in which a Christian's passion for a cause -- although right and just -- turned harmful or violent? When this happens we know that it is not the message of Jesus Christ or the acts of Godly men and women.

Questions to Ponder:

When you see Christians in the news involved in acts of violence, how do you think the non-believing world views such Christians? Do you think there is any just reason or cause for a violent act in the name of Jesus? If you saw a fellow Christian who you thought was on the road to violence or other persecution against a person or group -- what would you do? What is your responsibility? Do you have a passion for righteousness that is turning into anger? What do you need to do to change your approach?

Pray to God the Father in the Name of Jesus Christ - Ask, and the answers shall be given to you.

Devotion by:  The Pocket Testament League.  Image by: gruntzooki.

Our Return on His Investment

Investing Twenty-four Hours a Day. No matter how busy we are (or think we are), the fact still remains that every one of us has exactly the same amount of time to the split second; it is the difference in what we do with it that makes the difference in people.

If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, but carried over no balances from day to day and allowed you to keep no cash in your account, and every evening canceled whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day, what would you do? Draw out every cent, of course.

Well, you have just such a bank, and its name is Time. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of these you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balances. It allows no overdrafts. Each day it opens a new account with you. Each night it burns the record of the day.

Each moment in life is a precious gift from Almighty God.

If you fail to use the day’s deposit, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the morrow. You must live in the present— on today’s deposit. Invest it so as to give your utmost for His Highest. It was for that reason God gave you the “account” in the first place and as surely will He demand a reckoning of you. All stand before the judgment seat of Christ (John 5:22, Romans 2:16, and Romans 14:10).

After all, each of us (regardless of whether we want to acknowledge it or not) were created by and for the sole purpose of serving Jesus Christ. Our existence through salvation is the most wondrous gift; for which we owe God everything in return (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Suppose we deliberately analyze a week of Mr. Average Person’s time and see what we can learn. It has 168 hours in it; 8,760 hours in every year. For the people in this country who have jobs, those 168 hours are said to be usually divided more or less like this-- seventy-seven hours for sleep, meals, personal care, which means brushing your teeth, dressing, shaving… all the rest of it. Forty or fifty hours are devoted to work. (Modern authorities consider a work week unusual which has more than forty hours in it.) Ten hours are spent in cars, subways, buses, traveling to and from work. That leaves forty-one hours unassigned, which can be counted as leisure in its broadest sense…

Squander or Invest. The plain, unvarnished facts are that most of us—yes, even the most busy of us—waste enough time in odd minutes (just plain squander them) that if organized and conserved and used to make dreams come true would more than accomplish our ends as appointed by God.

Franklin reminds us that “If time be of all things most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality, since lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough always proves little enough. Let us then be up and doing, and doing to a [for His] purpose; so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity.”

Pray, listen, and obey (1 Thessalonians 5:15-22, James 1:22-25).

Excerpts from “Investing Leisure Time” By Frank H. Cheley – Copyright, 1936, By The University Society Incorporated: Adapted to a Christ-centered viewpoint by Matthew Foutch – November 22, 2011.  Image by By KimCarpenter NJ.