A Window of Time to Serve - Acts 13:36
This life offers only a window of time to work for the Lord. Youth and old age both offer their own hindrances to service. In many ways, though not entirely, youth should be spent in learning, middle age in doing, and old age in teaching. Many of the greatest servants of the Lord found in scripture began their journey in youth by learning of the Lord and His ways (1 Kings 18:12; Psalm 71:5; 2 Chronicles 34:3; Job 29:4; Ecclesiastes 12:1). As they approached the prime of life, they put their learning to use by serving the Lord (Numbers 8:24-25). As they passed their prime, they would pass their knowledge on to the next generation in hopes the work of God would go on (2 Timothy 4:1-8).
Sorrow Is Better than Laughter - Ecclesiastes 7:3
If the average person were asked whether they would rather laugh or cry, the answer would be obvious. Yet, our thoughts are not always in line with God's thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). According to the Bible, "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better" (Ecclesiastes 7:3). Laughter is much more enjoyable than sorrow, but we learn very little in laughter. Sorrow, on the other hand, teaches us and molds us into better servants for our Lord. This is by no means to say that laughter is evil or harmful, but that sorrow is better from God's perspective. Solomon spoke of laughter in Ecclesiastes 2:1-2. He gave himself to mirth and pleasure, but in the end found it to be vain.
The Believer's Responsibility - Romans 12:10-13
As believers, we have a God given responsibility in the area of hospitality. In two places we find the phrase "given to hospitality" (Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 3:2). The passage in 1 Timothy speaks of the qualifications of a bishop, but the passage in Romans identifies hospitality as a responsibility for all believers. We should be "given to hospitality." In Titus 1:8, we find that a bishop must be "a lover of hospitality." Just as with the command to be "given to hospitality," it is God's will that every believer be "a lover of hospitality." It ought to be our joy and our purpose to spend time with others, desiring to strengthen or encourage them in some area of need.
The Backbiting Tongue - Psalm 15:1-3
When we think of biting something, we think of doing so with our teeth; but backbiting is a work of the tongue. Backbiting is the act of saying something about someone with the intention of harming them personally. In our passage, we learn that backbiting is detestable to the Lord; so much so, that David said the backbiter would not abide in the Lord's tabernacle. Our tongue is a dangerous weapon that is often used of the Devil to harm others. According to James 3, the tongue kindles a great fire (James 3:5) and is a world of iniquity (James 3:6). The old phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is unscriptural. The Bible says that our tongue is "full of deadly poison" (James 3:8). Backbiting wounds its victims!
The Purity of God'sWord - Psalm 12:6
God is pure in every way, and as such, it follows that the words He speaks must also be pure. In Psalm 19:8, we read that "the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes." In Psalm 119:140, the writer says, "Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it." Both of these verses speak of the word of God as a whole. In other words, the word of God in its entirety is without any foreign substance that would defile. In Psalm 12:6, we learn that the "words of the LORD are pure words." In case we might wonder which words, the Lord made sure to give us Proverbs 30:5 which says, "Every word of God is pure." The world wants us to believe that the Bible is defiled, but God says otherwise. Who will you believe?
The Lord Requires Purity - Ezra 6:20
Many things change from the Old Testament to the New Testament, but some themes are consistent in both. One such theme is that the Lord desires to use things and people that are pure. The Lord commanded His people in the Old Testament to make sure that the things in the tabernacle were purified (Leviticus 8:15). He also commanded that His servants be purified (Ezra 6:20). In the New Testament, the apostle Paul confirms the continuation of this theme by saying that "pureness" approved him as a minister of God (2 Corinthians 6:4-6). God still requires that those who serve strive to live pure and holy lives. Impurities hinder the Lord's effectiveness in our lives.
Say Not Ye, There Are Yet Four Months - John 4:35
In the context of this passage, the Lord had been dealing with a Samaritan woman in the absence of His disciples. When the disciples returned, the woman left to tell others that she had found the Christ. The disciples had gone to get some food and begged the Lord to eat; but instead of eating, the Lord took the opportunity to teach His disciples. He told them that His main focus was to complete the will of God. In the lesson, the Lord brought the attention of His disciples to a harvest. He emphasized that souls were not to be labored for in the future, but now. The fields were white already to harvest. There was no time for delay.
Come Ye Yourselves Apart - Mark 6:31-32
Most Christians know the commandment of Christ given to the apostles to go "into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), but few recognize the same Lord commanded the same apostles to separate themselves "into a desert place, and rest a while" (Mark 6:31). It has been said that one will either come apart (in rest) or he will come apart (spiritual destruction). The Lord obviously understood this truth and commanded the disciples to separate themselves for the purpose of finding some rest. The disciples obeyed and departed into a desert place. Each believer today should examine whether he or she is obeying this command of the Lord.
Resting Neath the Yoke - Matthew 11:28-30
What an oxymoron! The Lord invited all that labour and are heavy laden to accept a yoke (A yoke is to be placed upon a pair of animals to attach to a plow or cart in order to help them labour together.) Why would the Lord invite those weary from labour to labour? And then, why would the Lord promise rest by inviting people to labour? The answer lies in Matthew 11:30 where the Lord said, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Rarely will one find labour in this world that can refresh the labourer, but the Lord promises to labour with those who labour for Him (1 Corinthians 3:9), therefore making His labour refreshing.
There Remaineth a Rest - Hebrews 4:1-11
In creation, God laboured six days before resting on the seventh (Hebrews 4:4, 10). One day, all who know the Lord as Saviour will cease from their labours. It will be a time of eternal rest known only to those who are born again. No more will the saved face the difficulties associated with labour such as tears, sorrow, and pain (Revelation 21:4). According to Revelation 14:13, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." For many, rest is hard to find in this life, but one can rejoice in knowing "There remaineth . . . a rest to the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9).