An older couple had an ongoing contention about which of them was losing their hearing. As time went on the husband decided he would settle the issue once and for all.

While his wife was enjoying a book in the living room he said in a loud voice, “Dear, would you like a cup of tea?” Upon hearing no response, he progressed to the next room and said again in a firm voice, “Dear, would you like a cup of tea?” Still, he heard no reply, so he went to the living room and stood directly behind the chair in which his wife was sitting. In an even louder voice he repeated, “Dear, would you like a cup of tea?”

She turned to him with a slightly annoyed expression and replied, “For the third time … yes, I would like a cup of tea!”

Being hard of hearing is also a spiritual condition. Over and over Jesus declared, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

People hear spiritually when they desire to know the heart of God and are changed by it. Jesus commended those who hear the Word with an honest and good heart, hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

In the Psalms, God said it this way; “Don’t be like the mule which has no understanding.” The one word that best describes a mule would be… stubborn. In other words, God wants you to have ears to hear because the blessing of hearing is yours.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” …and be blessed.

Your servant,

Rich

There’s an old saying that’s profoundly true, “You can’t change your past; but you most assuredly can change your future.” You may have failed, but must it define your life? It’s not too late to rebuild your life. But be sure of this; you must rebuild it on a sure foundation.

Paul considered himself the chief of sinners. In his anger, many were hurt. He was against the church and pursued them relentlessly. God literally knocked him off his high horse and blinded his eyes in direct confrontation.

God is willing to knock you off your high horse to get your attention, but it’s what you do next that could change the course of your life. Paul had a ‘come to Jesus meeting.’ God blinded his eyes so they could be opened to see the truth of what he had become.

But it’s not enough to see your past for what it was; God wants to show you what will become of your future if you will trust Him with it. Don’t let past failures define you, but your future will only be changed if you are transformed because God has done a work in your life.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come,” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Your servant,

Rich

There is an unspoken rule that whatever someone does to you, you can do the same to them. After all, it’s only fair, right? It’s a principle of the world.

If they say mean-spirited things to you, you ought to be able to say mean-spirited things right back. If they raise their voice at you, you ought to be able to raise your voice right back. If they use cuss words at you, you ought to be able to use cuss words right back. Right? Isn’t that fair?

But that’s a worldly principle, not a godly one.

If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you’re in the kingdom of God, and a whole different set of principles apply. The principles the world uses are not for you, God’s principles are higher.

“Don’t return evil for evil, or insult for insult,” that’s a principle of the kingdom of God. When Jesus was crucified, He said, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”

If God gave you what was fair, you would have to pay the penalty for your own sins. But God doesn’t give you what is fair, He gives you what is gracious.

If you repaid evil with evil, wouldn’t that require you to be evil? When you return insult for insult, wouldn’t that require an insult to come out of your mouth? When you return anger for anger, wouldn’t that require you to become angry? When you return cuss words with cuss words, wouldn’t that require you to become worldly?

No; you’re in the kingdom of God now and a different set of principles apply. Paul wrote, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone… If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Jesus said, “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” In other words, live by these principles and you will be like your Father in heaven.

Your servant,

Rich

God doesn’t want you to be self-confident. For many, that stands in direct opposition to everything they’ve learned. “What do you mean God doesn’t want me to be self-confident? I thought self-confidence was a strength! Doesn’t God want me to be strong? Doesn’t he want me to be bold?”

Yes, God wants you to be strong and God wants you to be bold. But I say again, God does not want you to be self-confident. Here’s why; because self-confidence is, by definition, confidence in self. That stands in direct contrast to faith.

What God wants is God confidence; that’s completely the opposite of self-confidence.

Most people would look at David, the king of Israel, and say, “Now there’s a man with tremendous self-confidence.” But they would be wrong. David wrote in Psalms 71:5, “You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth.”

In another place, David wrote, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this, I shall be confident.”

I submit that when your confidence is in yourself, you have just limited your resources. When your confidence is in God, the resources of heaven stand behind the hand of God on your life.

No need to waste money on the latest self-help, self-confidence book. There is a much better book with much better promises – the Word of God.

Your servant,

Rich

 

 

A large dairy came up with a clever advertising campaign. They showed their cows in a field with happy smiles on their faces and the slogan, “Contented cows.” The idea is that you yourself will be contented if you drink milk from contented cows. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way.

Contentment is a misunderstood word; many people believe that contentment is the goal of their life, but they don’t understand that contentment in the soul is the key to spiritual maturity and the deepest contentment they can have.

Paul learned to be content in whatever circumstances he was in. He knew the secret of being filled and of going hungry, of having abundance or suffering need. In other words, Paul could be content with little or with much. The outward circumstances did not matter. Paul’s spiritual secret was this, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

There was one thing, however, with which Paul was not content; he wanted more of Christ. He wanted to keep growing spiritually, “I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:12-14)

Press on in Christ and increase in your desire to not just know godly things, but to experience godly things in spiritual maturity and deeper intimacy with the Lord.
Contentment from drinking milk is one thing, but may your heart’s desire be to say, “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul yearns and even longs for you, O Lord.”

Your servant,

Rich

What is the secret to a fulfilled and beautiful life? It is the desire of many; but how do you get such a life? “I will go and get it, I will take it,” some say to themselves. But that is human effort added to human error.

Don’t go and get it; instead, you must give it. The Lord gives His own life as an example, “I did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.” When you understand the meaning of these words and live according to them, you will discover the secret to being fulfilled.

Our thought, then, is not what we can get of help, or profit, or comfort, or good in any form from others, but what we can give. That is love and since God is love, there is fulfillment of godliness in it. To be like Christ is not to consider what we might receive, but what we can give, what good we can do. Bring healing and never hurt to anyone.

Many spend much effort in ensuring that no one wrongs them, that they receive acclaim and honor from others; that no injustice is done to them. This human striving is rooted in emptiness. But when we seek to give in the fulfillment of others, we are spared the trouble of selfishness. The highest place in Christ is found in serving, in bringing joy and in giving life to others. The result is a fulfilled and beautiful life. There is satisfaction and sweetness in such a heart that can be found in no other way.

Your servant,
Rich Jones

It is often difficult to tell by circumstances whether you are defeated or victorious in a conflict. What at first appears to be a defeat, could later be seen as a victory. The key is this; “The steps of a righteous man are ordered of God.” Psalm 37:23

When young Joseph was betrayed and sold into slavery by his own brothers, it appeared that the end had come for the boy with visions of grandeur. Years later when the powerful ways of God had come to light, however, he could say to his repentant brothers, “You meant it for evil; but God meant it for good.” In other words, what seemed to be a humiliating defeat for Joseph was instead a personal victory for him, and the means by which God preserved his entire family.

This principle works the same in reverse, however. Things that may at first appear to be a victory, could be a defeat. When David succeeded in stealing Uriah’s wife, no doubt he thought this was a great conquest. He quickly discovered, however, that he had instead suffered a stunning defeat. What the armies of his enemies could not do in battle, David did to himself.

To onlookers, Jesus had been defeated. The great worker of miracles and commander of nature hung on a cross to die like a common criminal. But He died in the same power by which He lived. Three days later, His victory was certain; and He became the victory for all who would die and live in Him.

The key is this, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered of God.” Your part is to keep motives pure, your faith steady, and your heart steadfast on God. God desires to show himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts belong to him.

Trust God in every circumstance; He is the One who writes the final chapter of every conflict.

Your servant,
Rich Jones