Monthly Archives: March 2019

Monday Motivator – March 25

Do you realize that God sees and knows everything? How does that affect your behavior?

I saw an old episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” where Andy’s son Opie found a wallet with $50 and no identification card. He turned it into his dad, hoping Andy would give the money to him as a reward. Instead, Andy said they would wait seven days to see if anyone would come to the sheriff’s office to inquire about the wallet. Sure enough, a man did and he thanked Opie by giving him a few bucks for his thoughtfulness. Opie passed a big test.

Imagine you are walking on campus and you find a credit card on the ground with the school president’s name on it. What is your first instinct? Do you look around and see if someone is looking for it? Do you try and use it for personal gain? Or do you take it to the office of the president and return it? If you take it back, you will pass a test that was as big as any you would take in one of your courses. It is the sort of test you and I take every day. It is the test of whether or not we will do what is right even though we are convinced no one is watching.

It is the test of what entertainment you take in the privacy of your dorm room. What web sites do you view that have questionable content? How do you handle the situation when someone offers you the answers to an upcoming test that were obtained illegally? What kinds of thoughts do you allow to go unchecked when you see someone who is attractive? What do you do when the cashier gives you too much money back after a purchase?

We face tests like this all the time. Some we will pass and others we may fail. Some, like the one King David of Israel faced dealing with sexual purity can have catastrophic results.

Read 2 Samuel 11:1-5 and 12:1-14.

King David walked around on the roof of his palace one spring evening. He observed a woman bathing, noted she was beautiful, and sent someone to inquire about her. Ignoring his servant’s report that the woman was the wife of one of his top soldiers, David sent for her. Ignoring the command of God’s law, David slept with her.

David became guilty of breaking the sixth, seventh, ninth, and tenth commandments. Bathsheba appears to be an un-protesting partner in this adulterous encounter. When she later became pregnant with David’s child, the two of them knew the law prescribed the death penalty for both of them.

Prophets were messengers of God and the Great King sent Nathan to rebuke David and announce judgment on the king. Nathan asks David, “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?” To his credit, David recognized his guilt and confesses his sin in response (see David’s additional reflection in Psalm 51).

Even though David experienced the forgiveness of God, and was released from the customary death penalty for adultery and murder, he and Bathsheba still suffered great consequences.

Let’s learn from David. One way to prepare for such tests is to remind ourselves that Someone is always watching us. Even in the dark. Even when no one is around. Even when no one knows what we are thinking or considering. God knows. He sees. He more than anyone else, wants us to pass the test. And He gives us the strength to do the right thing. 

Think theologically. Your true character shows when you think no one is watching.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – March 18

It is remarkable that we have access to the Creator of the Universe. It is stunning that we can spend time with the heavenly Father, the Shepherd of our soul. It is amazing that we can sit and listen to the Bread of Life impart wisdom to us when we need it. It is comforting to know the Holy Spirit is our Advocate. It is strengthening to know He, the Faithful One, is just and will forgive us if we confess our sin to Him.

Do you feel ill at ease or unwelcome when you approach God? Or do you feel comfortable and welcome anytime?

My wife and I benefitted from some neighborly hospitality recently. Friends invited us over for a meal and we entered their home to soft music, a warm atmosphere, great food, and wonderful conversation. Our friends made us feel welcome, wanted, needed, and important.

Think about it.

The same principle applies when we come into the presence of our Holy God. This was made clear in the Old Testament Tabernacle, which was a symbolic representation of how people interact with the Living and True God. The “house of symbols” that is described in Exodus 25-27 was built and shaped and arranged to teach us about how to enter the presence of the Mighty God. God sets the conditions by which we have access and permission to enter His presence. That way is entirely through faith in Jesus Christ, His Son.

Consider the example of the bronze altar of sacrifice (Exodus 27:1-8). The altar stands for judgment on sin. The killing of the goats and sheep on this altar symbolized the results of sin, which is death. Therefore, the unmerciful death of an innocent animal, in place of a person who committed the sin, pointed them ultimately toward the One who would come to die as our Substitute, in other words, Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world.

When He died on the cross at Calvary, the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus was sufficient to atone for the sin of everyone, just as John declared in John 1:29.

Read Hebrews 9:15-22.

We can approach God only on His terms. The only way to receive God’s forgiveness is by putting your faith, hope, and trust in the action God offers through the death of His Son. When He shed His blood, he paid the necessary price to set each of us free from the sins committed under the first covenant. God offers you a gift you cannot purchase.

Since the death of Christ, the promised eternal inheritance (verse 15) is available to the beneficiaries of His action. That’s why Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant (verse 16). His atoning death means the inheritance is real and available for those who accept what Christ did on the cross. Jesus died as a ransom to buy back our reconciliation to God.

What qualities in God led Him to provide for us a way of salvation and entrance into His presence? Have you received Jesus Christ by faith as your Savior? If so, keep on loving Him and serving others. If not, do so today. The door to salvation is open and He is inviting you in to relationship with Him. There is nothing you can do to earn your salvation. Accept His gift.

Grow devotionally. Faith in Jesus is the key that opens the door to God.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – March 11

His was a common name in his day. Ananias had the privilege of being mentioned not once, but twice in a New Testament letter. The meaning of his name is, “The Lord is gracious, or shows grace.”

Imagine the scene he found himself thrust into: He had heard that Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill. Saul went to the Jewish Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus (150 miles north) so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he could arrest them and bring them south to Jerusalem.

When Saul got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.”

His companions stood there dumbstruck—they could hear the sound, but couldn’t see anyone—while Saul, picking himself up off the ground, found himself stone-blind. They had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. He continued blind for three days.

There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: “Ananias.” “Yes, Master?” he answered. “Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again.”

Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.” But the Master said, “Don’t argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews.”

So Ananias went and found the house, placed his hands on blind Saul, and said, “Brother Saul, the Master sent me, the same Jesus you saw on your way here. He sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes—he could see again! He got to his feet, was baptized, and sat down with them to a hearty meal. Saul spent a few days getting acquainted with the Damascus disciples, but then went right to work, wasting no time, preaching in the meeting places that this Jesus was the Son of God.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21.

Staff and students in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship believe we are called, like Ananias, to help men and women find a relationship with God. Will you surrender yourself today to live like Ananias, a gracious one? Will you embrace a lifestyle of obedience and availability to the Master? To whom might the Lord want you play the part of Ananias and show grace?

Serve globally. Like Ananias, let’s live a risky witness to help another person find freedom and be set free to a clear and reconciled identity in Christ. Do not, like Ananias, assume some people are beyond God’s reach. God is calling us to partner with Him in the greatest rescue operation of all time and no one is too tough for God.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – March 4

Who determines who you are? What markers help you ascertain whether you are on track to becoming who you want to be? What does the Bible have to say?

There are a myriad of voices clamoring to get our attention and influence us for good or not so good. The challenge is partly one of assessing which voice(s) we will listen to and how much stock we give to their message.

For example, from where does one develop their self-esteem? Parents? Siblings? Extended family? School? Neighbors? Friends? Teachers? How does someone develop their self-respect and self-acceptance?

I believe that God and parents supply the most significant imprints of self-respect and dignity to each person. God as Creator has the deepest and broadest impact on who we are since He designed us from scratch. Our parents partner with God to help us come into the world and their voice and beliefs about us should matter most, while other human beings such as those listed above should and can add reinforcement to who we are.

Scripture reveals and indicates that our Father in heaven, like all loving parents, wants us to be secure in who we are and feel good about ourselves. But as sovereign Creator, He declares our identity and stability depends on who He says we are. The danger we often experience arrives when we stray from God’s perspective of who we were created to be by allowing lesser voices to sway us from His view of us.

We often misunderstand God’s view of us and that leads to being restricted from reaching our God-given destiny or purpose. Yet God’s opinion and value of us is much richer and much more meaningful than the short-lived and illusionary prospects fellow mortals and human society tends to present to us.

Sadly, many of us succumb to human ideas and standards where our well-being and identity is defined by achievement, beauty, intelligence, money, popularity, possessions, and power. But we often learn too late in life that if those are our values for measuring ourselves, we are in trouble. They are superficial and misleading, because our net worth is not equal to the sum total of our appearance, our abilities, and our bank account.

Hopefully, we will not step into the comparison trap that tries to convince us to feel bad about ourselves because we don’t rate so well with others in the areas like appearance and achievement. Here is where Scripture can again aid us in remembering a heavenly perspective about who we are.

Read Jeremiah 9:23-24.

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that our identity and self-esteem should be rooted in what God says about us. The daily struggle we all face is between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God. Are we people of integrity or driven by financial success and monetary accumulation? Are we concerned more about what we get from others or what we invest in others? Do we seek to rise above our circumstances with God’s help and live purposefully or yield to them as helpless fear-filled victims? Whose voice matters most to us?

Walk wisely. Our character can impact how we feel about our ourselves. That is why we need character developed by obedience to God which will make a difference in who we are.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

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