September 1, 2020
1 Peter 4:7-11
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

New International Version (NIV)
              A recent battery of tests revealed that it looks like I am going to live.  Not all pain has been explained, but a lot of the scary things are ruled out, for now. Occasionally, on my journey I have faced a physical challenge which raised the specter of serious sickness.  Once, I preached a revival in Montana as I waited on a suspicious mole to be analyzed.  Each time has been sobering.  I know for sure that God will give grace for whatever comes into our lives. 

               What would you do if you knew you did not have long to live?  How do you “live like you were dying?”  A country song asked that question.  Tim McGraw sings that when he found out he might be dying he went “sky-diving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and spent 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu-manchu.” Somehow the last activity has no appeal to me!

                Peter and the first century Christians did not know when Christ would return, but they believed it was soon.  He urged them to be alert, sober and to pray.  When in doubt, “Do love,” as Bob Goff writes.  Love deeply because when we love others we forgive and forget their sins.  This is the time to be gracious with each other.  We use our gifts to serve our gracious God.  When I preach I preach as one who speaks the very words of God.  As one preacher put it, “I preach as one who may never preach again, as a dying man to dying men.”  How shall we serve our neighbors in Louisiana who suffered loss from Hurricane Laura?  We serve with all the the strength God provides.

                Every moment of our lives is a gift.  It looks like I am going to live, this time.  But unless Christ returns first, someday I will die.  That makes this moment matter all the more.  Our purpose in life according to The Westminster Shorter Catechism is “to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”  As Peter envisions it, our lives are a perpetual doxology.  We live giving God glory and causing others to praise him as well.  Every time we speak a word of grace or serve another person who is struggling, we are honoring God as a living doxology to the one from whom “all blessings flow.”  There is no place for hubris or self-centered pride in the child of God.  God gives us the grace to live, so God alone gets the glory from our lives.  
Pray with me:         
Father, thank you for this moment.  Help us not to take a single breath of air or a single day of our lives for granted.  We are not promised a life free of pain or suffering.  But we ask you to enable us to live today giving our lives away for your glory.  Make us loving, hospitable, gracious and kind.  Like Jesus, who did not waste a moment of his life here.  In His name we pray.  Amen. 
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:27-28
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 

Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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