Sunday, June 12, 2011

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - God Defines Success

I do not have a newspaper subscription.

It's too depressing.

However, every time I log onto AOL to get my emails, I am confronted with little *news bites* all over the page.

Snippets of what's happening in the world, in politics, in sports, in medicine, in entertainment…

I suppose it's a good thing to keep updated on things – but like I said before, I find it all a little depressing.

The human race is just so consumed with itself.

Fame, fortune, power…

These are the things that get people admired, envied, emulated –

But why?

These are not lasting things – they are things of the world. And all too often, people toss their values aside in pursuit of them.

The human race – not so different today as it was in the time of Jeremiah. Society was deteriorating economically, politically, and spiritually. Wars dominated the world scene. God's Word was deemed offensive.

Sound familiar?

God appointed Jeremiah to bring His word to "nations and kingdoms." It was Jeremiah's mission to warn all the nations of the world about God's judgment for sin. Because God looks at things in a different way…

Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" is what God has to say:

"This is what the LORD says: 'Don't let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone; that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!'" (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

You see, God places a high priority on knowing Him personally. He values justice, righteousness, and love more than fame, fortune, and power.

God defines success in a different way than the world does. He considered Jeremiah a success – because he obeyed God faithfully. Regardless of opposition and personal cost, Jeremiah courageously proclaimed the word of God. He was obedient to his calling.

We, too, have a responsibility to bring God's Word to a fallen world – to tell others about the consequences of sin and the hope that God offers. We have a responsibility to live differently to define ourselves by God's values and priorities.

We must press on to know Him more and more – to obey Him faithfully.

God's approval alone should be our standard for service – and our standard for success.

As far as I'm concerned, AOL can keep its headlines – for these are not the stories of people following hard after the LORD.

On the other hand, we have a calling, my friends – are you ready to answer?

"When in doubt, search God out!"


  1. I love Jeremiah 9:24; I have it memorized. It is so deep in meaning of describing characteristics of God! And you are right, Sharon, God does define success so much more differently than the world. The poorest man here often is the one that is successful in the eyes of God because he pursues what really matters; the heart of God, seeking God and making God known. We need to continue to do that ourselves, getting the good news out of how wonderful loving God is and the grace he gave us through Jesus' death and resurrection!


  2. I remember the sharp image of when my brother and then my mother died. When the wheeled their earthly bodies out - all they had with them was a white sheet. Nothing else.

  3. I don't get or read the newspaper either--too depressing. And I find that every time I pick one up (you know, maybe I am missing something?) my blood pressure rises uncontrollably.
    I will boast here though, that I know the Lord Jesus Christ! Hallelujah! By His grace I know Him! What a glorious revelation of Himself He has shown. Nothing I know of Him, except what He has chosen to reveal. And I know that He has been and will be faithful to the end.
    Great post, Sharon.
    Loved and agreed with this especially:
    "We have a responsibility to live differently – to define ourselves by God's values and priorities.
    We must press on to know Him more and more – to obey Him faithfully."
    That dovetails perfectly with what I posted on today, "Begun Well Is Not Finished Well."
    Pressing on alongside you,

  4. I'm a day late so it might be safe for full confession in a semi public arena.

    On the subject of new (which I realize isn't the subject of this post): I'm in one of those "Catch 22" times in my life where I can't seem to win. If I watch the news, it plummets me into a depression. As I'm hurling, I feel the guilt for not trusting God with the world affairs. If I DON'T watch the news, I feel ignorant and woefully inept to have an opinion or decision regarding world affairs, and then I feel guilty that I'm ignorant.

    On the topic of the post:
    I know that you speak truth and that what is success doesn't necessarily look like success.
    In my church/faith world, I feel like a weeping prophet, though, and from the slime pit, it is hard to keep my mental finger from racing to hit the play button on the tape that says, "You're a loser, even in the Kingdom of God."

  5. Betty - Amen! I am also reminded of the verses where Jesus says that some of the least will be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. God sees and judges the heart - and the world's view of success will be turned upside-down. Pursuing God, and getting out the Good News - I can think of no better way to "succeed" than this!

    Sandie - What a moment that must have been for you. I keep trying to tell my dad to focus on the Lord, and to not worry about his earthly things - he's a little consumed/obsessed about it all. I pray for him - because like you said, none of it goes with us.

    Wendy - It's truly an honor to be pressing on alongside YOU! Yes, we must be like Paul, pressing on to finish our race well. I look forward to the rewards of Heaven - but most of all, I want to hear God say those beautiful words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

    Debbie - Do you know I could NOT have summed up my ambivalent and conflicting feelings about the news any better than you did? That's EXACTLY how I feel. Oh Debbie, how I ache for your heart. I wish there was a way for you to find a vibrant church that spurred you on, that recognized your wonderful gifts, that didn't drag you down. You know how cell phones hit areas where there's no service - "dead zones"? I think that's where you're stuck. Please remember that those "loser" tapes are recorded by the enemy - the king of lies. And please know that I could NOT be doing my faith journey without you. I truly mean that.



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)