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10 Key Steps to Help Be Irrestible (I Peter 3:8-12)

Friday, July 19, 2019

1. Pray everyday for sinners. Talk to God about the lost and then talk to the Lost about Him. 

2. Have a faith worth imitating. The top three ways to teach someone to be faithful to God are:  example, example, example.
3. Invite your friends and family to the activities of the church. Bring them to Bible class and devotionals. This is when and where lasting relationships are made and strengthened!! Be personally committed to coming so that you can welcome those who visit. 

4. Make sure they understand that Christ comes first. Teach them that Jesus is more important than sports, grades, friends, money, or a career.
5. Be sure sinners are being encouraged/taught in a drama-free church where Jesus is Lord.
6. Share your values and good conduct with those who are lost. Show them a better way to live!

7. Teach them early and often to have respect for those in authority. God, has a plan for AUTHORITY in His church which must be respected and honored. 

8. Never let anyone hear you bash the Lord’s church. How can we expect our family and friends to desire joyful membership in an institution that you routinely target for criticism? There is so much that is right and good with the church. Consistently highlight these positives for potential converts (and all whom you seek to draw to Christ). Tell them of the servants, the doers, the givers, the “cream of the crop” type folks who populate the church.
9. “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”  -- Charles Wesley

10. Begin these things immediately. If you wait you’ll never start. Enough time has already been lost that can never be retrieved. The devil isn’t procrastinating and neither should you!

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” - Dwight L. Moody

 

Why Do I Do That?

Friday, July 12, 2019

I've always found it interesting that I will search high and low to find scriptures that justify my condemning comments, actions, or ways toward others. I will say things like, "Jesus cleansed the temple" or "He told them like it was" and then I sit back and feel good about myself. I will even pat my own back or some brother or sister will say "tell'em like it is brother!" 

I personally must remember that I am not Jesus.  That I was called to be a blessing to others. "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary {blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.} For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil." 1 Peter 3:8-12.

I woefully forget that Jesus knew what was in a person's heart  (an ability that I do not possess) and how to handle the situation gracefully.  He even spoke words like, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Luke 23:34. Even when they did awful things to Him and didn't ask for forgiveness for their sins. He still offered it!  Amazing Grace!!  Something I must learn.

Jesus seemed to be aggravated mostly with the religious folks of His day and mainly because of their actions toward the people of their day. The very people He came to save!  Is it possible that is why He said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 
Matthew 7:21. I wonder if I am that person at times.

I forget words like, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." 
John 3:17.

Let's all work together to be tactful, gracious and kind in our words, actions, and social media postings. Let's also do what we can to bring them to Jesus, the Savior of the world. 

Extending God's Grace to Others is What We Do

Friday, July 05, 2019

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: (I Peter 4:10)

When asked “what is grace,” the word is most often defined as “unmerited favor.” Yet, grace involves so much more. It empowers us to do the will of God, to forgive when it’s hard, to do what would be impossible on our own; from walking in wisdom to building businesses to loving the unlovely.

The grace of God is extended to us in many forms: in salvation, in our spiritual and natural gifts, in our accomplishments, and in our experiences.  As we’re called to freely give because we freely received (Matthew 10:8), we are called to both receive grace and extend it to others.

How do we do this? One way is to be like Christ in His sacrificial love. Let’s consider what our Lord gave up (Philippians 2:7-8). He gave up the most for the sake of the least. If Jesus extended that kind of selfless love to us, we’re obliged to extend it to others.

Every gift of time, every act of service, every favor we do; these are reflections of the sacrificial love and grace of our Lord. By deliberately losing something (time, energy, focus, the chance of to do something else) so that others may gain, we extend His grace.

I say this, “if we want to be like Christ, we need to look for ways we can be like Him. Christ, our Lord, gave up power, glory, and position because that is what He had. What do you have?  Time? Money? Opportunity? Talent? Imitate our Lord by sacrificing that for others, and you will be a good steward of the grace of God.

Showing grace to others is about showing kindness even when they don’t deserve it.  God has shown us much grace.  We, in turn, are asked to show grace to each other. Amen!

 

I Give Up!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Giving up is not normally in our vocabulary as Christians.  The Corinthians were encouraged by Paul to stick with working effectively for the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).  Paul also motivates Christians in the Colossians letter to remain faithful (Colossians 1:23) and not move away or give up in order to be holy and blameless in Christ.  Again there is a word of instruction to hold onto Christ in order to be a fellow partaker of all of the rich blessings found only in Him (Hebrews 3:14). The message given over and over is don’t give up on Christ because it will be detrimental to your soul!

 However, I want you to consider giving up but for a totally different reason and in doing so it will be a blessing to your life as a Christian.  Consider a quote by a man named Rupertus Meldenius (aka Peter Meiderlin), “In matters of faith, UNITY; in matters of opinion, LIBERTY; in all things, CHARITY” which was adopted by our restoration leaders during the restoration movement.  You might remember that I couldn’t remember this exact quote recently in a Bible Study class. The idea is this, we stand firm on matters of faith but when there are matters of opinion, we have a right to liberty (or freedom) but we must always use love.  We must never be a stumbling block to our brethren. Forfeiting our freedom for the sake of others expresses a selfless way of thinking which is a wonderful characteristic of a Christian (Philippians 2:4).

I love a statement that I heard Dan Winkler used once, “keep your fingers on the pulse of one another’s sensitivities” (not an exact quote) in order not to be a “stumbling block” in the faith.  You see, there are times when we must let go of our “freedom” to be a greater blessing to others and “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” – Ephesians 4:3 

 So, “GIVE UP” for the sake of others!

 

For the Love of UNITY

Friday, June 07, 2019

I want to continue a discussion that we had in our Wednesday Bible study recently from 1 Corinthians chapter 9.  Paul uses himself as a personal example of self-denial  by stating he could have been paid by the church for service in ministry.  However, he chose to give up his personal liberty by not accepting compensation and decided to work so that he wouldn’t be a stumbling block to others (He mentions this same concept in 2 Thessalonians 3:8-9). As he discusses with the Corinthian Christians whether it is ok to eat meat that had previously been offered to idols (8:9-13) he employs a radical idea and that is to give up a personal liberty for the LOVE OF UNITY.

This liberty that Paul could have enjoyed (being paid for ministry) could potentially cause a brother to sin.  He didn’t want to be a stumbling block to others by eating meat offered to idols (a liberty the Corinthians could have enjoyed) but would be placing a stumbling block in a brothers path.  A freedom that Paul ultimately says is not worth participating in because the stakes are too high. He never wanted to lose a brother or sister or cause them to stumble!  The stronger response spiritually is to forfeit a personal liberty for the LOVE of UNITY.

There is a much bigger picture here to consider than eating meat offered to idols. Paul was very concerned over the church dividing (1:10-11). The concern in chapter 8:9-13 was one of many issues confronting the church at Corinth and a reason for causing division.  Quick question...Do we really desire to “win” souls or arguments? Is it about getting what “I” want with no “HIGHER way” option only my way?  Do we only desire the ultimatums we establish and the lines we draw in the sand?  Remember Paul’s ultimatum?  GIVE UP your liberty, freedoms, and personal agenda for a greater cause….UNITY!

Think about the direction the church at Corinthian was heading in by being selfish over opinions and issues and it wasn’t a good one. They were going to split the fellowship, sever friendships, and divide the church which would have created more skeptics. The church would have an ugly cloud covering their influence in the community which wouldn’t have been beneficial to the Lord!  The beautiful blessing for the Corinthians is they took Paul’s advice and the church was blessed as a result (read 2 Corinthians). It takes a stronger person spiritually to submit, be humble, and penitent in the presence of brethren and before God.

Paul had one thing on his mind and that was to NEVER be a hindrance to the Gospel of Christ by letting his personal preferences keep the weaker brethren from running the race of faith and winning the ultimate prize which is eternal life with God. Let’s be determined to do the same for the LOVE of UNITY. 

“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.” — 1 Corinthians 15:58

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