People who reject absolute standards of right and wrong are often inconsistent. When they think they are being treated unfairly, they appeal to a standard of justice that they expect everyone to adhere to.
The apostle Paul said that we are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (2 Cor. 7:1). Even though it may seem to people around us that we are living a clean, moral life, in our spirit we may be harboring an attitude that displeases the Lord. Because sins of the spirit are unseen, hidden in the heart, we tend to ignore them until they lead to some outward behavior that reveals their presence.
How would you define “the Christmas spirit”? Would it be a friendly smile between strangers, the sound of familiar carols, a tree with twinkling lights in a sea of brightly wrapped packages, or just that good feeling you get this time of the year?
A certain businessman was notorious for saving almost everything that came across his desk—especially correspondence. Consequently, the files in his office were bulging. One day his secretary asked if she might dispose of all the old, useless material. The man was reluctant, but finally said, “Well, all right, but be sure you make a copy of everything before you throw it away.”
When Josh McDowell’s mother died, he was not sure of her salvation. He became depressed. Was she a Christian or not? “Lord,” he prayed, “somehow give me the answer so I can get back to normal. I’ve just got to know.” It seemed like an impossible request.
Built into our nature is an internal judicial system, the conscience, that commends us when we do right and condemns us when we do wrong. But this vital monitor of morality does not say the same thing to everyone. In some cultures vengeful killing is seen as honorable. In others, a person is still considered good even when he betrays a friend.
My brother worked 42 years for the Herman Miller Furniture Company. At his retirement dinner he said, “This is my company. Where else could a production worker like me participate in the management of the company?” What had instilled this kind of loyalty? In part, it was the leadership of D. J. De Pree, longtime president of the company.
From the time that Joseph Dixon (1827-1869) began producing the pencil during the US Civil War, the only substantial change in its design has been the addition of an eraser. Consider for a moment this unique little writing stick. At one end is a hard black point and at the other a small rubber tip. This simple instrument can be used to scribble, sketch, compute complicated formulas, or compose lofty poetry. But it can also quickly correct an error, change a figure, or start all over.
Pastor Ed Dobson was speaking to a congregation on “putting all on the altar” in total surrender to Christ. After the service, an old German farmer came forward. He told Dobson that he had eight cows that were dying, which would mean great financial loss, and he had been struggling with accepting this as God’s will. Then he said, “Because of your message, I have found peace. Tonight I put them all on the altar.”