Monthly Archives: April 2015

Why Bother?

Why do Good deeds?

The Bible clearly teaches that doing good deeds or works will not get us into heaven. Jesus said “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.”  The Apostle Paul said, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

If “good deeds” don’t count as currency to enter heaven,
then why bother?

Why should we—
give to rescue people from human trafficking
spend an evening ladling food in a soup kitchen
prepare a casserole for a recuperating neighbor
mow an elderly person’s lawn
coach a Little League baseball team
help clean up a tornado ravaged town
sweat in the sun to build a church in Africa
Run a 5K to help fund a pregnancy center
Write letters of encouragement to the discouraged

Why bother? 

Why use our time, energy and money to do good deeds when our resources could be spent on hobbies and entertainment that would bring pleasure to us? As long as we don’t do bad deeds that hurt others, why bother with the good deeds?

God’s plan for our life includes doing good works.
Our good deeds glorify our Father in heaven.
Works of service build up the body of Christ.
We show God’s love, through good deeds rather than words.

Good deeds will not give us a pass through the pearly gates, but  they are essential for a strong vital Christian life.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Let your light shine before others , that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up… (Ephesians 4:12)
My little children, let us not love with words or tongue; but with actions and in truth  (I John 3:18)
…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17)

Martha Hawn VanCise©2015


Delays from God

In both manned and unmanned space launches, pauses are built into the launch time clock. The clock stops, giving launch specialists time to check, recheck, review, activate, test and begin new steps in the launch procedure. During the pauses fuel is carefully loaded without the pressure of watching time on the countdown clock. The capsule is cleaned and vacuumed one last time to eliminate earthly contamination, and final briefings on weather conditions are given.

Just as pauses are built into the countdown of rocket launches, God inserts pauses in our lives. Sometimes the pauses provide essential refueling times after a long spiritual battle, illness, or an exhausting stretch of work. More often, pauses halt the forward progression of our well-ordered life in areas of employment, family relationships, church involvement or a ministry.

We usually view pauses as delays. We chafe at the halt to our plans, but progression will only be made as we make use of these schedule-stopping  pauses and accept them as part of God’s plan.

Pauses are times:
To review and thank God for the journey so far
To do an unhurried spiritual life inspection
To check the motives in all areas of our life
To look for contamination from the world and  our culture
To confess hindrances to spiritual growth
To reaffirm our commitment to walk in obedience to Christ.

Nothing delays God’s schedule,
but pauses are built into God’s plan for our life.


Martha Hawn VanCise©2015


Listen for God's Voice

We lived in Haiti in 1986 when the country exploded with riots and demonstrations that culminated in the departure of Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. When the unrest began, the government blocked CNN television and destroyed radio stations that dared broadcast news about the turmoil. At that time there was no internet, text messaging, or reliable phone service. We had no way of knowing if the rumors we heard were true or not. Our only source of truth was the Voice of America short-wave radio transmission.

As in VOA commercials that appeared during the Cold War, we huddled around our short-wave radio to hear the TRUTH about what was really happening in Haiti. At 7:00 p.m. we strained to hear the music of Yankee Doodle that announced the start of the English version of the news. We trusted VOA to bring us the Truth without the distortion of opinion or pressure from governments or outside sources.

Finding VOA, however, was very difficult on our small, short-antennaed radio. Amidst the shrill and hiss and sounds of multiple languages, I would move the dial in hair-line increments to catch the first strains of Yankee Doodle and hope I could connect with the station before the news began. To make it easier to find, I marked the dial with a thin line of red nail polish. Even though the sound of the news sometimes roared in and out like the tide, we listened intently because the truth we heard on VOA often determined  our travel and activity schedule for the next day.

Today, we live in a world where truth in broadcasting is hard to find. Politics, advertisers, governments, cultural pressure and personal opinion shape the news. Tragically, these elements are also shaping the message of the Church. There is only one source of Truth and that is the Voice of God through the Word. The Voice of God will not be found through a casual scanning of your Bible. Tuning into the Voice of God requires effort to tune out the hissing and shrilling voices of surrounding messages. It requires focusing, looking intently into the Word and then ordering our activities according to the Truth that we find.

Jesus prayed, “I’m not asking that you take them out of the world But that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world. Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth.” (John 17:15-17 MSG)

Martha Hawn VanCise©2015