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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Is Satan Using to Keep You in Line?

We sing the songs which declare that we have victory in Jesus, that we have been made overcomers and we are victorious over the evil one but act very differently while living outside the church. It isn't that we don't want to be different. We just aren't any different. We worry as much as those who do not know Jesus. We get just as angry at people who slight us. We are just as afraid of speaking up as the person who doesn't know his Savior.

We are being controlled but hardly realizing it. We run from the things that God has for us. The prevalent answer to our timid nature is, "That's just not me." People accept that answer. It's easy to give. The trouble is that it reflects a life controlled by someone or something else. God always asks us to do more than what we are.

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
7  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Our troubles and anxieties may not directly originate with Satan. However, he certainly uses our fallen nature to enhance them. God did not give us a spirit of fear so it had to come from somewhere. I believe they come from listening and being conformed to this world. The world tells us what we should believe, fear and value. Holding onto these things reveal hat we love this world and have bought into its values.

These make us miss what God has for us. We fail to follow Him because we have values and fears instilled in us by the world. Thus, we act like the world and lack victory whenever we are expected to act differently.

Luke 10:41-42 (ESV)
41  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42  but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

The people who think like the world cannot understand why the church doesn't adopt the thinking of the world. It is completely logical to them. They may even run to Jesus to get those who are following Him without regard to the values of the world to change. They see what they are doing as right and those who sit at Jesus feet as wasting their time.They may not recognize the value of God's presence over work. They may not recognize His voice at all.

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

I used to think that the only place that I ever had to fight Satan was outside of myself. I thought of him as the one who was opposing my ministry with discourage words or attacks from others. I forgot that he was working on me too. He was seeking to conform me to this world. He was surrounding me with people who have fallen into his trap. They may be believers but they are still thinking like the world. Like Martha, they can only see the values of the world. They are full of their own anxieties and troubles.

John 15:19 (ESV)
19  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 

Satan is  always reasonable to the thinking of the world. It is his realm. Those who think like the world oppose those who are not of this world. They may even hate those who think outside of this world. Those not of this world still live in the world but they have not been conformed to its thinking. They are truly those who have overcome the world.

A spiritual awakening comes when the people who call themselves Christians reject the thinking of the world and sit at the feet of Jesus. These believers merely do what the Lord leads them to do. They speak when they are called to speak and remain silent when they are led to be silent. They act like they are going to live in a city built by God that is outside of this world (Hebrews 11:10). They are controlled by their freedom to obey the Lord. It springs out of their love for Him. Nothing else is more important.

We will always be controlled by something until we are freed by the Spirit. We won't have that freedom as long as we listen to the world. Satan will always be able to control us without our own spiritual awakening which releases us from his grip.

He is definitely keeping believers in line by anxieties and worries. What is he using to keep you in line?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An Upside Down World

Isaiah 5:20 (ESV)
20  Woe to those who call evil good
            and good evil,
     who put darkness for light
           and light for darkness,
     who put bitter for sweet
           and sweet for bitter! 

The word "spiritual" has become a mystery to me. People who do not know Christ or the Holy Spirit are claiming to be spiritual. I don't really think they are saying they are spiritual the way the demons are spiritual but what other spirits are there?

I sit with a man in a coffee shop as he tells me that his mother was a spiritual sort of person. I inquire what that means. He tells me that it is a special quality of understanding that there are spirits around us. He tells me that he knows things that he couldn't know without the "spirits" revealing them to him. He speaks of a warm glow when he is in his spiritual self. He says that his mother had that same quality.

The strange thing is that he is not strange. I have heard it before. I see it on tv as people speak of being spiritual. It makes itself known in movies. It is right and desired to be spiritual. No one seems to care who these spirits are. These spirits allow the person to adopt a new standard of right and wrong. Those who hold to the old standard are wrong. Those who go with the flow of these spirits are in the right.

Where do you think this will lead us?

The above scripture bothers me. We see it as a completed act. Those who ascribe to a biblical ethos of morality are called evil. The Bible itself is declared as having bad parts which do not need to be followed. One politician said that we "read" those bad parts out of the Bible. He placed the reader in control of what is right and wrong. He did not acknowledge that this simply isn't our call. The Holy Almighty God determines what is right and wrong. Even that statement would be considered evil by some.

God says that woe will fall on those who do this. It is the definition of being lost for we certainly don't know the way when we are going the wrong direction while claiming we are on the right path. You simply can't be more lost than to wholeheartedly believe you are right when you are wrong.

This seems like a losing battle too. Many Christians are adopting the morality of the world. They want to be in the majority. They don't want to be left outside. The world has captured them. They are claiming the world in exchange for their lives.

Things are apparently better as people are freed from the biblical standard. No one seems to notice the murders and robberies reported on a daily basis. I wonder why these are considered wrong. Couldn't the perpetrators simply claim to be spiritual and led to take what they wanted? Couldn't they say that they were ridding the world of a greater evil when they killed another person?

Some even claim they understand the acts of terrorism in France because of the cartoons drawn which mocked their religion. Who say those same things if Christians were so inclined to kill others in such acts of evil? We condemn those who kill the doctors who perform abortions. Who in their right mind would say this is good? There is no justice in murder. God does not condone murder.

So many times I hear people take the Bible out of context to justify their own evil. They have not read what it really says. They never understand it as a book which describes a loving God. They see only the parts and never the whole. Thus, they see it as an evil that brings about evil. Only those who take it out of context can use it to justify their evil. Only those who take it out of context deem it as evil.

So, good will continue to considered evil unless there is Someone who turns this all around. No number of sermons given by any number of believers can change things without a fresh breath of the Holy Spirit. Until Christians truly understand what it is to be spiritual those who claim to be spiritual will be just as spiritual as Christians.

It's an upside down world until that happens. I pray that God turns it right side up again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Strength of Waiting

Isaiah 40:30-31 (ESV)
30  Even youths shall faint and be weary,
            and young men shall fall exhausted;
31  but they who wait for the LORD shall 
            renew their strength; 
     they shall mount up with wings 
            like eagles; 
     they shall run and not be weary; 
            they shall walk and not faint.

I hate waiting. I would rather do something that would cause something bad to happen that is going to happen anyway than wait for it to happen. If will drive my car faster if I think its going to break down. Somehow I believe that will cause it to break down faster. Then, I can get if fixed. Otherwise, I am only waiting for it to break. That kind of living can wear you out. It depends on what you can do. It never waits for someone to do anything.

Of course, always waiting for others doesn't get anything done. It is totally dependent. There is no virtue in doing nothing. There are no medals given to soldiers who waited for somebody to do something. There are no awards given to athletes who never suit up. The medals and ribbons go to those who run. The people in the stands just wait.

The key is knowing when to wait and when to act. Acting without waiting will simply wear you out. You are constantly active and never satisfied.

And it doesn't matter how old you are either. Even young people will get tired when they constantly act. Those who are wiser know that acting is important but not as important as acting at the right time. That way your strength is not exhausted meaninglessly.

Many times I have told myself that I was tired in the ministry. I have gotten tired because I an always trying to please people I am always trying to "force" my church to grow. I am always trying to make things happen. But it is like pushing a huge rock up a hill. I get tired for all my effort but see very little progress. The Bible says that building a house without the Lord is a labor in vain. I suppose I am the poster child of "labor in vain."

So, I can either be tired or wait until my strength is renewed by the Lord. Waiting is not a weakness but a means of gaining strength when the waiting is for the Lord.

I just recently took a turn at trying to worry something into a better place. I went after worrying as if it were an Olympic event. I am sure that I won the gold but nothing happened from my worrying. Maybe I should have tried praying. Praying is asking and waiting upon the Lord to do what needs to be done. There is strength in this waiting. I can attest that worrying will wear you out.

I commit myself to the Lord. I ask for Him to work in me. I wait for His direction and strength. Then I am not so tired anymore. Yes, that's the way its supposed to go.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What If Jesus Says Something You Don't Want to Hear?

John 6:66 (ESV)
66  After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

I know that Jesus was crucified. I know that there were people who passionately hated Him. I like to think that they never paid much attention to Him. I like to think that they never listened to Him. That wasn’t true. There were people who listened and wanted to hear more until they heard something that they wouldn’t accept.

These people heard Jesus say that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. They were literalists who believed that Jesus was offering His physical body to be cannibalized. It was a statement which either demanded getting closer to Christ or leaving Him altogether. Many chose the latter.

It is easy to understand why they left. They didn’t know who Jesus is. Thus, they could not accept what He was saying as anything but literal. Anyone who offers his flesh to be eaten must be of the same order as Hannibal Lector- crazy as a loon! As long as I didn’t know who Jesus is, I would have left Him too. I know because I would leave anyone who said that to me today.

The problem people have with Jesus’ call of commitment to them is that they don’t know who He is. They want to make the decision to follow Him as one that is so reasonable that they would be seen as fools if they didn’t. A problem will always arise when He asked for a commitment that the world will deem foolish. Then, they leave what He has said and, very often, leave Him as well.

Many people who call themselves Christians do not mind going to church. They don’t mind working in the occasional church project. They might like serving in the food pantry or collecting blankets for the homeless or  even the buying of toys for destitute children at Christmas.  Their faith is fine as long as it doesn’t alter their lifestyle. They can’t see giving until it affects how they spend their money on their own wants. They can’t see serving when it means they will miss the NFL game on Sunday afternoon. Their commitment to Christ must fit in the box which they prepared. Honestly, no matter how long they claim to have known Christ , they do not really know Him.

Peter’s response to this reveals that he knew who Jesus is:

John 6:67-69 (ESV)
67  So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,69  and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Can you see the difference between those who know who He is and those who don’t?

There are people in church every Sunday who have listened to what He has said. They want to hear more until they hear something that doesn’t fit into their box. Then, they decide not to follow Him. That may not mean that they quit coming to church. It only means that they are going their own way now.

You just can’t pick and choose what Jesus has said and know Him as your Lord.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Can You Honestly Pray, "Not as I Will, But as You Will?"

Matthew 26:39 (ESV)
39  And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

I have no trouble praying the first part of Jesus' prayer. There are many things that I have asked Jesus to let pass from me. There are times that you have to face people who honestly hate you (though they never say that at church because they know that would be wrong) and seek to criticize everything you do. These people are hard to face because they work to make things look bad. They often have a point and they stab you in the heart with it. So, I would like to avoid those people and those occasions. Its the second part of His prayer that gives me the most fits.

Jesus prayed that His Father's will should come first. I know that I am supposed to do that. I just don't expect to commit to God's will over my will.

I have been praying lately that God would not allow me to live an obscure life. I asked Him if I could be somebody. That is, somebody whose work for Him would have significance. Underlying that prayer is a desire to be someone who is recognized as somebody who has made a difference for the cause of Christ. So, when I read Jesus' prayer I was taken back. Would I also pray that God's will should overrule my will?

Am I willing to drink from the same cup as Jesus? No, I don't mean going to the cross or even dying as a martyr. I mean to have very few people who knew who I am when I die. To plant seeds of faith in others that I will never see grow during my lifetime. To have the bulk of what I have done not even be noticed until I am gone. Would I accept that will?

I know that I would rather have people read my blog, share it with others and long for the day they could hear me preach. I would like to have a church that was growing so large that I would be asked to speak at conferences just so people could hear how wise I am. I would like to write books that everyone would read and would stand in line so that I would sign them. I would like to be rich and famous. Yes, this is my confession. I admit to my human frailty.

I have been blessed to know people in the ministry who have all these things. Their churches are large. They have written books and they are asked to speak at the most notable affairs. I want the same things for myself. But let's suppose that God has different plans. Suppose that God will do more with me after I am gone from this earth than He ever did while I was on the earth. Would I be okay with that or would I rather have everything now and nothing happen after I am gone?

Jesus held on for His Father's will. He genuinely put His Father's will above His own. He endured the ridicule of the soldiers, the crowd, Herod and the Jewish people. He died for the very people who crucified Him. He was relatively obscure at His death. He went into heaven and the whole world was changed.

Yes, I know what I should want. I know what I should be praying. I am having a hard time praying it. So, I'll just keep praying it until I finally mean it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Do You Really Want God's Glory?

1 Peter 4:3-6 (ESV)
3  For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4  With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5  but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6  For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

I grew up in the country. We have a few head of cattle, chickens and pigs for a little while.  It was no big deal to have steak. In fact, that's what we had the most. I ate it but didn't think of it an anything special. it was mundane so my mom tried new ways to serve it. In the end it always tasted like steak.

That's not true for me today. I don't get steak that often and when I do, it is special. Its like I rediscovered something that once had bored me. Our lives are like that. We want something new to stimulate us.

That would all be fine if it was our natural inclination for stimulation from God's word. It isn't. Most of the people who call themselves Christians are actually bored with God's word. The evidence is found in that they don't have a daily time with God in which they read, meditate and apply God's word to their lives. Most Christians know exactly where their Bibles are because they haven't moved from that place in a very long time. They couldn't have left them somewhere because they weren't taken with them.

So, most people-both Christians and non-Christians- are looking for some external stimulation. They live in the world and expect this world to give them that stimulation. They center their lives around the lust of the flesh, the lost of the eyes and the pride of life. They go deeper and deeper into a world of stimulation. It keeps them from clearly seeing what is going on.

This morning I watched the first car in a left hand turn lane wait seven seconds after the light had turned green. The person wasn't paying attention. The stimulation of the light just wasn't enough to grab their attention. They needed more. I wonder if a truck horn sound would work?  I'm sure that even this would become so mundane that no one would pay attention to it. Then, it would take something more.

And that's what's happening to people who are caught into this stimulation. It takes more. Eventually the things that stimulated you aren't enough. It doesn't matter if it is sex or getting a new gadget or having your name in lights. It doesn't matter what you see at the movies, there must be something outside your box if it is to be stimulating. The genres of horror, pornography and even story telling itself has gone way beyond anything that has previously happened. It appears that these things so stimulate us that we will emulate them if given the opportunity.

I have people coming to me explaining their "adventures" into the perverse. (That's a definition that I can't define anymore. I don't know what's perverted because it has become so common.) Many of these people claim to be Christians. They never thought they shouldn't do these things. They listened to it, maybe watched it and created a desire to participate in it. They wanted something that removed the mundane from their lives. They hardly noticed the damage they were doing to themselves and those around them.

Yes, Christians are joining the non-Christians in their sins. They are going as deeply into the stimulation as those who have no knowledge or care for Christ. They want the "next big thing" just as much.

So, don't be surprised at what happens in your church when the people act as if they don't know Christ. They are looking for stimulation, not glory.

Glory could be just as stimulating but it would cost a whole lot more. It would mean giving up everything in the world to follow Christ.

And who would want that?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Do You Desperately Need the Lord to Fight for You?

Have you ever dreaded something that appears to be inevitable? The doctor comes in and says that you have cancer and its inoperable, the accountant says that your business cannot continue to operate, your boss comes in and tells you that your job is being terminated or your spouse comes in and tells you that he/she has found someone else and is leaving you. You don't know what to do.

Pressure builds within you. You cry and cry out. Where is God? Why isn't He here to save you? What about all those stories in the Bible where God rescued His people? Will He rescue you now? It seems unlikely. Hope spills out of your life like the grains of sand in an hourglass. Soon there is nothing left. Despair, desperation and depression begin to grip your life. You can't sleep because your dreams have  been consumed in nightmares.

Each day you arise to face a doomed future. You prepare for death; you shut down the business; you apply for unemployment; you get a lawyer. The truth is that you would like for it all to end. You imagine that death wouldn't be as tough as what you are going through. You feel like you are disappointng so many people. You may not notice that you have disappointed yourself. You feel like a failure even if all that has happened has nothing to do with your efforts.

Is there any cause for hope? No, not without faith for you will have to come to God like you have never come to Him before and receive the faith and strength that He will give you. You are already trying to cope with this on your own. You have nothing to lose in coming to Him.

Now, I know this sounds like so many of those people who get in trouble and claim they have turned everything over to the Lord. They say things that they want to be true but don't really believe they are true. They say that they are in God's hands but as soon as they are out of trouble act like they don't even know who God is. They are like those who make jailhouse commitments to the Lord. These commitments only last as long as they are in the jailhouse. Why should God come to the rescue of those who pretend to commit themselves to Him?

No, your commitment to the Lord must last beyond the problem at hand. It has to accept whatever God has for you to do. It has to be genuine. Maybe this is why the Lord waits so long before He rescues people. Maybe its because the genuine people are the only ones who will hang on to Him for so long. The others fall away as soon as the problem appears to diminish.

So, you turn to the Lord completely. Prayer becomes a large part of your day. You ask, you confess your own part of the problem and you commit yourself totally to the Lord. You listen with all that is within you to know what you must do. The Bible is read, spiritual people are contacted and you return to prayer. You cry and cry out and keep crying and crying out until you hear from the Lord. Then, you praise Him for His answer. He may indeed have you walk through the burning coals that you were trying so hard to avoid but He has promised to be with you in every step. He may remove the problem altogether. He may strengthen you with faith as He takes you home to be with Him in heaven. He may bring the spouse back or give you the strength to forgive so that your life no longer has the dismal future you once thought it did.

There is a backside to every problem. They are like the hills that I used to climb when I rode my bicycle (there were hills in Nashville, there aren't many hills in Virginia Beach). The hill was tough but the downhill was always a time of praise.

So cry out to the Lord today. Tomorrow, get up and cry out to the Lord again. Keep crying out. He will hear you and deliver you. That's not just something that God does. It is who He is.

Deuteronomy 20:4 (ESV)
4  for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Walk Closely with the Lord or You Will Walk Closely with the World

There are no random acts of kindness. We intentionally do good things. We intentionally decide to follow the Lord. Thinking we can let our lives coast in neutral will take us back to the ways of the world. The world's conforming power will make us into its image. This will happen every time and every day we fail to make a decision to follow the Lord. The day we miss our time alone with God will be a day we take a step backward. Confession and repentance needs to be a daily activity rather than a rare one.

Lots of people treat their spiritual lives like someone who has a leaky boat. They sail in the boat until the water is so deep inside that they have to either abandon ship or bail water. So they bail until the ship is seaworthy again. They head out without thinking they will have to do anything ever again. Of course, they eventually notice the depth of the water and start bailing all over again. The job is always more arduous the longer they have waited.

As Christians, we are like submarines which have holes. We must continue to receive more air to blow out the holes or the water will come in. The world comes in the moment we stop the positive pressure. We with walk closely with our Lord or we will stray back to walking with the world.

And this isn't something that just might happen. It is guaranteed.

So, how are you thinking and feeling today. You walk with the Lord closely to avoid the despair that his world sends. You walk closely to the Lord to avoid the critical attitudes, the superior speech, the selfish desires and the sinful vices. You walk closely to the Lord to see the failures of the world and all that it says is good. You walk closely to the world to put everything in its proper light. You walk closely with the Lord or you will walk closely with the world.

And its an everyday thing. Are you walking closely with the Lord right now?

1 Peter 1:14 (ESV)
14  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,

Monday, January 5, 2015

Growing the Church with Positive People

I have never met a pastor who didn't love his own pastor as he grew up. He saw his pastor as a spiritual leader who helped to form his theology and walked with him as he struggled with his walk to go into the ministry. Most pastors thought that every other member of the church was exactly as they were. These pastors would charge hell with a water pistol if their pastors had called them to. They didn't know what their pastors had to deal with.

Thus, they went into the ministry not knowing that the people who would call them would turn on them if anything went wrong. The search committee who introduced these pastors to their new churches said that they could walk on water. It generally takes about six months before some of the people will say, "He can't even swim. He's drowning us!"

Obviously, no pastor is perfect. They all make mistakes. Some of these mistakes are severe. Yet, almost all of them are doing their best to lead their churches to make disciples. Too often, their churches have some damaged people who rebel against authority. These people are critical of all authority; complaining and criticizing all leaders. It doesn't matter if it is in politics or in their own jobs. They are thorns in the sides of everyone who has had to work with them. They haven't singled out their pastors. They treat all in authority equally.

Unfortunately, negative attitudes are contagious. Positive people will not join in negative people's conversations. They will leave the negative people to gather others to be negative. People who haven't made up their minds can go either direction. They are generally found with the loudest people.

As a general rule, it takes about 80% of the people to make positive decisions before a church can grow significantly. They have decided to work with the leadership. They have decided to get in the game. They will do whatever it takes to see success and do not care who gets the credit. Every pastor I know has some of these people in their churches. Every one of them wishes they had more. Every church which has unchurched people around it would grow if the people would make the decision to grow rather than be a hindrance to growth.

I believe God wants churches to grow. Bringing people to Christ is like invading a land that belonged to the devil and making it God's. It is a battle. It takes faith. Churches will never reach as many people with its own members sabotaging the efforts. It is necessary to for the people to get on board.

This is why Joshua had to have the people agree to follow his leadership before he led them to take the Promised Land. Their fathers had rebelled against Moses but had all died. They had followed Moses and agreed to follow Joshua.

One could say that Joshua was successful in leading the people to the Promised Land and Moses wasn't. Both were men of God. The difference was the negative people*.

Joshua 1:16-18 (ESV)
16  And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17  Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you, as he was with Moses! 18  Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.” 

*Moses got so frustrated that he struck a rock when God only told him to speak to it. He was excluded from the Promised Land because of his anger.)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Rich Toward God

Luke 12:15-21 (ESV)
15  And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16  And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17  and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18  And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21  So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Many times things don't turn out like you expected. You can look at all the circumstances, make your decision based upon them and find yourself in deep trouble. You simply can't take everything into account. That is why it is so important that you know walk with God in everything you do.

Things may look dismal. It may appear that following God has been a bad decision. God's plans don't always include man's success. There are times when God lets His servants struggle. He leaves them with "thorns in the flesh." He allows them to be beseiged by their enemies. He makes more happen through the tough times than would have happened if things had gone perfectly.

Lots of people are doomed because of their good fortune. They see no need for God. They look at all the good things that are happening to them and wonder how their lives could improve if they had God in their lives. So they make plans without God. They can't see it but they are the ones who are making the foolish decisions.

This year will have good times and bad times for all of us. I believe that God must be central to our lives. Everything needs to be interpreted through Him. Every decision needs to be brought to Him. Being rich toward God means that our walk with Him is more valuable than the events which happen to us whether good or bad.

It's very important that we keep this in mind each day of this new year. We don't know what tomorrow brings so we make sure that we are walking with God today.