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Why 99.9% Just Won't Do

Monday, April 10, 2017

Why 99.9% Just Won’t Do

Jarrod Jacobs

                   Is it truly necessary that we go for “zero defects” in things that we build, or in other areas of life? Why isn’t 99.9% defect-free good enough? Please look at the list below. According to Jeff DeWar, Quality Consultant at QCI International, this is what life would be like if things were correct or “defect-free” only 99.9% of the time.

If We Settle for 99.9%, We Have to Accept:

  • One hour of unsafe drinking water a month.
  • Two unsafe plane landings per day at O’Hare International airport in Chicago.
  • 16,000 pieces of mail lost by the U.S. Postal Service every hour.
  • 20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions per year.
  • 500 incorrect surgical operations each week.
  • 50 newborns dropped at birth by doctors.
  • 22,000 checks deducted from the wrong bank accounts each hour.
  • 32,000 missed heartbeats per person per year.

(Source: Inc. Magazine, Article by Martha Mangelsdorf)

                   I first saw this list a few years back, but I think its overall theme is a valid one. Please reread those points. Hopefully, we can see that in addition to physical problems that are caused by only accepting “99.9%”, so also there is a spiritual application we can make. When we are not intent on giving God 100% in His service, we are asking for problems!

                   I want to be clear that I am not saying that there is a way for man to “earn” his way into Heaven. That is not the point or purpose of this article. No man can “earn” such a gift (Rom. 6:23b). At the same time, we need to recognize that God expects folks to give their all (100%) in service to Him (Lk. 17:10) daily! The Bible reveals that since Christ died for us, we need to live for Him (II Cor. 5:14-15; Rom. 12:1-2)! Christ gave His all; why do we think we can be accepted with any less than our all? The apostle Paul understood this and declared that he was, “crucified with Christ,” and that he lived his life, “by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Friend, are you living for Christ and living by faith? If not, why not?

                   When one becomes a Christian (Mk. 16:16), this one becomes a bond-servant to Christ (Rom. 8:16-18). As such, this means that we love and serve Him totally — 100%! Sadly, Satan wants folks to lower their standards and be negligent in the work of the Lord, even if it is just a “little bit.” When we are tempted to do this, I hope we will look back to this little “checklist” and see the dangers posed when we settle for even 99.9% rather than 100%. If such danger is posed in our society when we settle for less than 100%, how much more spiritual danger do we expose ourselves and others to when we settle for less than 100% in our commitment and faithfulness to God (I Cor. 15:58)?

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Ephesians 1:22-23

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Ephesians 1:22-23

                   And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. These two verses remind us of the supremacy of Christ. He is head over all things (Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:18). God gave Christ this position, and we need to respect it (Eph. 1:20-21). At the same time, we see how the body (church) is the “fullness of him that filleth all in all.” This speaks of a special relationship wherein Christ is in us, but we also are in Him (Jn. 6:56, 15:4-7, 17:21; I Jn. 3:24; etc.)! This relationship is possible for those who are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27). No one can say that the church has little or no importance! Some want to tell us to emphasize Christ and not the church. How can we do this in light of passages like Ephesians 1:22-23? Christ stands supreme as the head over His church, and at the same time, the church is His body! We can be a part of it and enjoy the fellowship in Christ today when we submit to His plan of salvation (Acts 2:38, 47)!

– Jarrod Jacobs

We Are Free Moral Agents

Saturday, April 08, 2017

We Are Free Moral Agents

Jarrod Jacobs

                   What does this title mean? Put simply, it means that we, as humans, have the ability to choose how we will live our lives. Though all things are created by God, God gave man the ability to do something that plants and animals cannot do. Men have the ability to obey or disobey God and then face the consequences. Man is the only one in God’s creation that can tell God “no.”

                   In the beginning of the Bible, we read about Adam and Eve’s creation, and God’s command to them to not eat of the tree bearing the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. We also read about the consequences if they disobeyed (Gen. 2:16-17, 3:3). They abstained for a period of time, but there came a day when Satan tempted Eve to partake of this tree. She ate and then gave it to her husband and he ate of it too (Gen. 3:6). After this, the man and woman were cursed and driven from the garden (Gen. 3:16-24). Notice please that at one point in time, they both could have chosen not to eat of the fruit. It could have been that Eve ate and Adam did not, or vice versa. Each person had the ability to choose and then had to face the consequences of their independent decision.

                   Free will was not lost to this world just because Adam and Eve sinned. In fact, we see men all through Scriptures faced with the opportunity to choose good or evil. For example:

  • “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live” (Deut. 30:19).
  • “I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me” (Ps. 119:30).
  • “… Mary has chosen that good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Lk. 10:42).

                   As the apostle Paul recounted his meeting Christ on the road to Damascus and the words Christ told him; he told Agrippa, “Therefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). This statement lets us know that Paul had the option to choose obedience or disobedience to Christ even while on the road to Damascus. How grateful are we that he chose the right thing!

                   So it is with us. We stand before God as free moral agents. Will we choose to obey or disobey? Yes, the choice is ours, but so are the consequences that follow (Matt. 7:13-14)! The Bible was written to encourage, and exhort us to choose the right things. God will not force anyone to obey, but He does present the consequences of obedience and disobedience for anyone who will listen. God wants us to willingly follow Him. What will you choose?

Do You Know My Friend?

Friday, April 07, 2017

Do You Know My Friend?

Jarrod Jacobs

  • I have a friend who is interested in my spiritual welfare and has been even at times when I have not been.
  • I have a friend who wants the best for me, even at times when I did not want what was the best for me.
  • I have a friend who loves me and has loved me at times when I was his enemy.
  • I have a friend who will forgive me of my sins when I repent and return to him. He does this consistently.
  • I have a friend who does not fail, and who can comfort and help me when no one else cares for me.

                   Who is my friend? My friend is the Lord Jesus Christ. How do I know He is my friend? I know this because He said to the apostles (and by application to me), “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (Jn. 15:14-15). He loves me and I love Him (I Jn. 4:19; Jn. 14:15).

                   That this love did not begin with me first loving God, but with God first loving me is a beautiful, and humbling truth (I Jn. 4:10, 19; Rom. 5:8; Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:4-5; Titus 2:3-5). He did not demand that I first do something so as to be found “worthy” of love. Instead, because God loved me, He sent His Son into the world. This Son, because He loved me, died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins (I Jn. 2:2; I Tim. 2:6; Matt. 20:28; Jn. 1:29)!

                   Therefore, for those who belong to Christ, having submitted to the Lord’s plan for salvation (Acts 2:38), and continuing in His word (Jn. 8:31; Rev. 2:10b), we have a friend that will never fail. We have an “Advocate” who is always on our side (I Jn. 2:1). We have a “High Priest” who “always lives to make intercession” for us (Heb. 3:1, 7:25-28). We have a “Mediator” between us and God (I Tim. 2:5). Yes, we have Someone who truly cares for us when the world turns its back on us!

                   Do you know my friend? Is He your friend? If not, why not? Make Him your friend by following the Lord’s plan of salvation (Mk. 16:16). Then, live for Him all of your life (I Cor. 15:58). You’ll be blessed by having such a friend!

The Extent Of God's Authority

Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Extent Of God’s Authority

Jarrod Jacobs

                   When we consider God’s authority, many will pay lip-service to it, but few seem to realize just how far God’s authority extends. We live in a time when men wish to have some authority “for themselves.” They want to be able to “call the shots” and run their own lives. This is just not possible. The sooner we recognize the extent of God’s authority over us, the better off we will be. What is the extent of God’s authority over man?

                   1) He directs us - Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” If it is not in man to direct his steps, who will direct him? The Lord God!

                   2) He has told us how to worship Him - John 4:24 states, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Therefore, our worship is not a “do as you please” kind of thing. Nor is our worship geared toward what makes people feel good, but what pleases God!

                   Our worship to God consists of singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); prayers, teaching, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and giving of our means (Acts 2:42, 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2). Why? Because this is what God has told us to do!

                   3) He has told us to be morally pure - I Timothy 5:22 reveals, “keep yourself free from sin.” Ephesians 4:25-5:4 list several things we need to avoid because they are sinful practices. Among these sins are: lying, sinning in anger, stealing, gossiping, acting like the world, telling “dirty” jokes, cursing, etc. These ought not be a part of our lives. Why? It is because God rules. He has the authority over us and expects us to be better than that!

                   4) Whatever we do and say must have sanction from God - Colossians 3:17 reminds us, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

                   In truth, when we study these passages of Scripture, we find that there is NO part of our lives over which God does not have authority. God rules completely, and it is high time we respected this. God “sees in secret” (Matt. 6:4, 6, 18). He knows our thoughts, words, and deeds. And, He will judge our thoughts, words, and deeds one day by His Son (Jn. 5:22, 27; II Cor. 5:10). Therefore, why fight against God? Let us surrender our lives and wills to the Almighty! Let us determine that we will submit to God’s rule. If not, there will be a day in which we will kneel, and confess, and acknowledge God’s power over the universe, but then it will be too late (Rom. 14:11-12; Phil. 2:10-11; II Cor. 5:10). Don’t wait until it is too late! Live a worthwhile and fulfilled life by submitting wholeheartedly to the authority of God!

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