In the Bulletin
Once a man visited his counselor and related his problem to him. "I am a tailor and over the years I’ve gained an excellent reputation for my experience and high quality of my work. All the nobles around me entrust me to make their costumes and their wives' dresses. The prince himself heard about me and asked me to sew him a garment with the finest silk that is possible to get in the country. I used the best materials and made my best effort. I wanted to show my art, and that this work would open the doors to a life of success.
But when I presented the finished garment to the prince, he started shouting and insulting me. “Is this the best you can do? It is an atrocity! Who taught you how to sew?” He ordered me to retire and threw the suit behind me.
I'm ruined I thought. All my capital was invested in that clothing and worse, my reputation has been totally destroyed. After this, no one will ever order a garment from me again! I do not understand what happened, it was the best job I've done in years!
"Go back to your business," said the counselor, "uncover each of the stitches of the garment and sew them exactly as you had done before, then take it to the prince."
"But I'll get the same outfit I have now!" Protested the tailor. "Also my mood is not the same as always."
"Do what I tell you, and God will help you," said the counselor.
Two weeks later, the tailor returned. "You have saved my life!" When I presented him again with his clothes, the prince's face lit up: "Beautiful" he exclaimed.”This is the most beautiful and delicate suit I have ever seen!" He paid me generously and promised to give me more work, and he would recommend me to his friends.
The tailor asked, “I want to know what was the difference between the first garment and the second one?”
"The first suit," he explained, "was sewn with arrogance and pride. The result was a spiritually repulsive outfit, although technically perfect, lacked grace and beauty, yet the second seam was made with humility and a broken heart, transmitting an essential beauty that aroused admiration in everyone who saw it."
How do you do your professional, family, personal, etc. work? Is it with arrogance and pride, or with humility in the heart?
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ
- Jaime Restrepo
There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger Ecclesiastes 5:13-17.
Do you remember how many pairs of shoes you have used throughout your life? How long did your last pair of shoes you bought last? We would be more than blessed if, using the same shoes every day, its duration will reach three years. Remember these amazing words in Deuteronomy 29:5 - "I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet.” Even their feet did not swell during those forty years, without a doubt, this was by miraculous intervention on the part of God.
This fact is even more incredible, when we consider the rugged and stony places in which the pilgrim people traveled. If we estimate that an Israelite walked a 1000 steps daily, he would have walked no less than fifteen million (15,000,000) steps in 40 years. Tremendous luck or miracle of God? What will we say about his clothes? Clothing forty years old, using it every day and not even getting old. The clothes were washed no less than 2100 times if we averaged one wash per week.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said: “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 6:28-30). God fulfilled this promise in the desert and will fulfill it today with us.
“Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
- Jaime Restrepo
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry - Colossians 3:5.
You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve – Luke 4:8.
According to the English poet Oliver Reynolds, an old man had a family altar where he burned incense to an image of Napoleon. When asked why he adored the portrait as a god, the man replied that he adored anything. Imagine, venerating a picture of that French general! Imagine what it is to burn incense to the portrait of a human being who does not have a meaningful relationship with his worshipers! That is the worst of the idolatries!
Of course we never think that we are idolaters, but do we subtly disobey the commandment of God, You shall have no other gods before me? (Exodus 20:3).
We would never even dream of bowing to the photo of any mortal, however famous or powerful it may be. But who is on the throne of our heart? Are we giving the first place in our life to a loved one? Is that person first in our love? Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37).
Maybe we love money. Or maybe our work is our highest priority. Luke 12:15-21 -And he said to them, Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. And he told them a parable, saying, The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops? And he said, I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry. But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.
Jesus said, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve (Luke 4:8). Are we worshiping Him and serving Him alone? Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.
Have you really turned from idols to God? Spend some time alone with God to examine your heart. Make sure you have not become an idolater.
AN IDOL IS ANYTHING THAT TAKES THE PLACE OF GOD.
- Jaime Restrepo
Put off your old self, ...and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self. Ephesians 4.22-23
How can we become more successful in conquering the flesh and our selfish wants and desires?
Cease to make excuses. The moment that some defense mechanism comes into play, recognize it, and ask yourself: Why am I letting this upset me?
Practice self-examination. For a moment, reflect on how self enters into everything you do. It influences your actions, work, conduct, dress, appearance,..everything! Do you need to increase your personal discipline and moments of self-examination? In writing about himself, Paul said, I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified, 1 Corinthians 9.27. We must realize how much misery is traced back to the love of self. Recall your moments of unhappiness and irritability. Self is the main cause of unhappiness in this life.
Measure yourself against Christ’s standard. Philippians 2.5-7 teaches that Jesus “emptied” Himself. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. How did Jesus “make himself nothing?” Jesus told those who follow Him, I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me, John 5.30. He was totally concerned with serving His Father. Let that be the case for yourself.
Perhaps no greater example of Jesus’ commitment to the interests of others over that of himself is seen while He was on the cross. While suspended in air—spikes driven through His hands and feet—he prayed Father, forgive them for they know not what they do, Luke 23.34. Peter said, For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, 1 Peter 2.21-24. Jesus set the standard that we are to follow. How are you doing? Make the commitment to decrease self and increase Christ. Have you put the wishes of the Savior above your own?
- Matthew Allen
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” Mark 12:30
In the Jewish burn offering, the head referred to the thoughts, the legs the emblem of the walk, the inwards the symbol of the feelings and the affections of the heart. The fat probably does not represent any one limb or faculty, but the general health and vigor of the whole.
In Jesus, these were all surrendered, and all without spot and blemish. Had there been one thought in the mind of Jesus which was not perfectly given to God, had there been but one affection in the heart of Jesus which was not yielded to His Father’s Will, had there been but one step in the walk of Jesus taken for His own pleasure and not for the glory of God, then He could not have offered Himself or been accepted as a “whole burnt offering to Jehovah”. But Jesus gave up all; He reserved nothing. All was consumed upon the altar.
So, to a Christian today, it must be the whole surrender of self to God in everything. We cannot reserve one sin to ourselves. We must give up all for the glory of God.