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What are you doing with today?

The preparation of today makes us ready for tomorrow. Without the work of today, the events of today won't matter when tomorrow comes. When others look at our life, do they see evidence of our faith? Do they see us laboring in love, or resisting every move we make? Do they see us patient in our waiting, or chafing in anticipation, hating the wait and disgruntled by not getting our way? Many of us can claim to be believers, but do our lives indicate we live like believers? Three things that are just not arbitrary in our live are faith, the labors of love, and the patience we exhibit toward each other (and ourselves). In fact, these things speak volumes about the work which has begun in our lives - a work God is going to finish, no matter how hard it may appear to us!

Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you're in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. (I Thessalonians 1:2-3)

Can others see the evidence of our faith? Faith and actions work together - our actions makes our faith complete - not because we need to work FOR grace, but because grace works FOR us when we put into action the things grace is doing in our lives. In other words, we are expected to reveal Christ in our actions. There are going to be times when the actions God expects of us seem a little contrary to what we might think reasonable. In the Old Testament, we see a picture of Abraham taking his only son Isaac to the altar, placing him upon the altar, in preparation of offering the most important part of his life to God. Would God have let Abraham burn Isaac upon that altar that day? I don't think so, but God was likely showing Abraham something about himself he may not have realized he was capable of - the deep, intense love of God that is willing to give one's 'best' to him!

I don't believe for a moment God actually expected to see Isaac be burned alive on the altar! He wanted to see if Abraham loved God for the gifts, or because he was a good and gracious God! Sometimes our lives do very little to reveal our intense love and trust in God. They are shallow because we don't really learn to rely upon God for the evidence of faith his transforming power will produce when we allow it to fully consume us. As Abraham took the very first step toward the altar, son in hand, he was showing God just how much serving him mattered - it was all or nothing for him. He was "all in". I have to ask - do our actions reveal we are "all in" with God?What about our labor of love - do our lives reveal any? I wonder what our daily work would look like if we were actually laboring for Christ? What difference would it make if we taught those students as though it were for Christ and not for a pay check; drove those big rigs as ambassadors of Christ and not as long-distance drivers; or if we washed those dishes as evidence of our love for Christ's blessing of a family instead as a means to an end of our day?

How about our patience in waiting - do we chafe, or settle in to see what God will do? We often fall down here, don't we? Waiting is tough work. Exhibiting patience when we don't see the immediate evidence of what we are hoping for - even tougher! Yet, in the waiting, much is being accomplished. Just consider what it would be like if we received newborns in a pod instead of experiencing the long nine months of formation and transformation which occurs within the mother's womb. In the waiting, we move from a focus on self to a focus on another - that growing life within us. There is something accomplished in the waiting - but the difference is really made in what we do within the wait! Just some thoughts to ponder today. Evidence of faith - is it the first thing someone sees when they look at us? Labors of love - is the love of Christ foremost in our actions? Patience in waiting - today is the preparation for tomorrow - what are we doing with today? Just askin!

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