It’s really rather plain: the “righteous” will receive rewards while living. It’s also plain that the sinner and the wicked will receive “much more repayment” for their life style.

While not stated, it is obvious that someone will pass judgment on both, and both will be compensated for what they have done or not done and how they have lived. And the “judge” will “compensate” both of them.

While in court recently, I was careful to watch the proceedings and the actions of the judge. To some he said, “Your behavior has surprised me and I’m going to reduce your sentence as a reward.” To others he said, “You have broken the law once again. Therefore, your parole is revoked and you are going back to prison.”

Judges have power to sanction those who are under their control or jurisdiction. A sanction can be a reward for exceeding expectations or requirements. Or a sanction may be given as punishment for disobeying or breaking the law or regulations.

Some look at the Proverbs as being too simplistic or too good to be true. For example, “If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner.”

Take note of “on earth.” This is a bold statement that God is active - here and now - in rewarding or punishing - everyone - righteous or wicked. Also, these sanctions are both positive and negative. Finally, rewards from God will be handled judiciously - today and in the future!

Prayer:  Father, help us to realize that You, our Judge, are watching us constantly. May our lives please You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 11:31 If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!

“How much more...” is a familiar phrase. As in “How much more do you want from me...” or “How much more of this do you think I can take...” or “How much more is there in life...” or “How much more can be done...”  And the list could go on and on.

Those three words appear four times in  the Book of Proverbs and the words, “How much less” appears twice. There are several lines of thought about their meaning: Some think they are too good to be true; some think they are overly simplistic; some think their promises are vastly overstated while others think they apply to the spiritual realm alone and are completely “future oriented.”

“If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner,” writes Solomon. Is there a simple message in these few words that we may try to complicate for the sake of discussion? Perhaps.

There is a popular opinion among many that some sins are not bad, or they can sin and “get away with it.” But, that opinion is not supported by Scripture. Besides, when we want to know what sin is, where it comes from and what to do about it, we do not go to psychologists or philosophers: We go to God’s Word.

As far as riches and righteousness, sin and unholy living go, Solomon has some advice: “The righteous do receive their due on earth; how much more the ungodly!”  Jesus said: “What a man sows he will reap.”

God will reward each of us for the way we live - now  and in the life to come.

Prayer:  May I focus my life, Lord, on living a  righteous life: a life that is worthy of Your unending blessings! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 11:31 If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!

What words best “describe” God? Are there some that are more precise, or accurate, to talk about Him? Is it more appropriate to use some words and not others to speak of Him?

Throughout the Psalms, from beginning to end, David uses many different words to describe the various acts of God. While some of them are “high and lofty,” most of them are practical and helpful. He speaks of God as his deliverer, protector, friend, savior, refuge, and stronghold. All words we could observe if we were to see God walking along a path with David.

In bringing Psalm 62 to a conclusion he speaks of his relationship with God as “strong” and “loving.” He had experienced God’s compassion and care, protection and presence and power - as we have. He also enjoyed God’s love, grace and mercy as we, too, have. And then he adds something that is most interesting: “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”

David enjoyed God’s goodness. He mentions it again and again. He spoke often of those who wanted to kill him, defeat him, steal from him, embarrass him and even ruin his reputation. But through it all he survived and prospered. He was deeply grateful for the mercy and grace of God and recognized them as “God’s reward” for his faithfulness in spite of his failures.

David speaks bluntly of those who are evil and do evil things to harm and hurt His beloved. They will not endure. But the righteous will be rewarded lavishly.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for rewarding us with so many of Your gifts. May we shout Your praises forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 62:12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work.
Karl Wallenda was one of the world’s greatest tightrope performers. In 1978 he fell to his death.

Some time later his wife was speaking of the tragedy. “All Karl thought about,” she recalled, “for three straight months prior to his death was falling. It was the first time he had ever thought about that, and it seemed to me that he put all of his energies into not falling rather than in walking the tightrope.”

Paul warned us about focusing on the wrong things. In his letter to the Philippians he advised them to “look forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us to heaven.”

The future is in front of all of us. And often it is not the future that causes us problems, but the past. We can’t feel sorry about what problems that may happen in the future, we can’t become discouraged about mistakes that might occur in the future and we can’t regret sins we will commit in the future. But we can become overwhelmed with problems and mistakes and sins that occurred in the past.

And when we allow the past to interfere with our future we will take our eyes off the “prize” that God has waiting for us. We must never relax our efforts or lower our standards if we want to be all that we can be through Christ our Savior. If we do, we lose the prize.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to keep our eyes upon You and the prize that we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. May we allow no one or no thing to distract us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
At the end of each season in each major sport, someone is recognized as being the most valuable player. In 1942, the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award in the American League was given to a player who made the most errors, hit into more double plays than anyone else and also struck out more than any other player. His name was Joe Gordon. He was also named into the baseball players Hall of Fame.

We can learn much from Joe Gordon. Even though he failed in some categories more than other players he did not allow his failures to be final. He did not give up nor refuse to do his best. He persisted through his problems and kept struggling to be successful. And he was! Rather than giving up he stood up, faced his problems and focused on his goal: to be his best and do his best.

Paul said, “Work with enthusiasm (and) remember that God will reward each one of us for the good we do…” This word of encouragement is a point well worth pondering.

There are times, for the Christian, that we work hard and do our best to be faithful in the tasks that God brings our way. We serve without notice and with little recognition. It seems as though no one cares because no one comments. But God does indeed care and one day He will make a comment: Well done, good and faithful servant.

Prayer: Lord, for all who are weary in well doing and continue to serve You faithfully, we ask that someone somewhere will recognize the good they have done. In Your Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
Winston Churchill is recognized as one of the most outstanding leaders in the history of the world. He held England together during World War II and brought encouragement and hope to the entire nation and the world.

He attended a preparatory school that was recognized for having high academic standards and making students study and earn their grades by spending hours at their desks and in the library. He is known to have excelled in all of his studies.

Toward the end of his life he was invited to return to the school to address the students. When he was being introduced to the students, the Headmaster said, “Our Prime Minister is one of the greatest orators in the world. Listen carefully and take notes.”

Churchill stood to his feet, gazed intently at the young people who gathered to hear him and said, “Never give up. NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER!” And sat down.

Paul put this another way for Christians: “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

Often we work hard for the Lord yet see no rewards. However, we must “Never Give Up!”

Prayer: Encourage our hearts, Lord, to know that we may not receive rewards in this world, but surely in the one to come with You in heaven. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
The great American novelist, Sinclair Lewis, was invited to give a lecture to a group of college students who wanted to become writers. As they sat quietly and waited expectantly, he opened his remarks by asking, “How many of you intend to become successful writers?”

Immediately, everyone in the audience held up a hand to declare their intentions.

“In that case,” said Lewis, “my advice to you is to go home and write.”

Shortly after creating Adam, God directed him to care for and tend to the Garden that He had created for him. And ever since then man has been responsible for working with God to take care of His creation. Each day we are to take every task and do it as “though we are working for the Lord.” Why?

“Remember,” said Paul, “the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward” because we “work for Him, rather than people.” We are also told to “work hard and cheerfully” because our tasks are acts of worship as we serve Christ each day.

Prayer: Father, may we remember that whatever we do in word or deed, we do to the glory of God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Colossians 3:23-24 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

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