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Appreciating Godly leaders

Friday, October 30, 2020

Paul speaks in 1 Timothy 4:12 to be “an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” When choosing a spiritual leader, it is definitely a tall order to fill - from a human perspective. When God appoints a spiritual leader, character, not age, is the determining factor.  Let’s reread 1 Timothy 4:12 completely: Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

When God calls a spiritual leader from His people, that person will be effective only to the degree that he is in a solid, life-changing, life-giving relationship with the Father. Serving God calls for Godly people, but even for the saintliest among us, service is not a right.  Rather, service in God’s kingdom is a privilege given to those who walk with God and who reflect His character.

If you are blessed to be in a position of leadership, ask God regularly to help you serve Him with a humble awareness of the privilege He has granted you. Ask the Father to make your life a Godly example that others can emulate for their good. If you are led by Godly leaders, pray regularly for them, thank God for them, and express your

appreciation to the leaders themselves. Humble servants who faithfully handle the Word of God are a rare and precious gift to the church and ought to be treated as such.

God's Presence With Us

Friday, October 23, 2020

“The woman bore a son called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him”  Judges 13:24

A male baby was born as a gift of God to Manoah and his wife. He was dedicated at birth as a lifelong Nazirite, which meant he could not cut his hair, drink strong wine, or touch a corpse.  Ultimately Samson violated all three restrictions, but in Samson’s youth the Lord blessed him. God give him amazing strength and unbelievable victories. While growing up I would see the Bible movies about this man Samson and I was so impressed by the strength given to him by God. I would ask God to give me the strength of Samson and the wisdom of Solomon. This was my daily prayer while growing up in my youth. Have any of you ever had this same desire?

You see, Samson knew Gods’ great blessing on his life, but this man's susceptibility to sensual pleasures was his downfall. Let us learn from this. Samson was defeated not by his enemies, but by his lack of self-control. This is something to ponder. Sadly, he was unaware when the Lord departed from him (Judges 16:20). It is possible to be so preoccupied and distracted from God that we, like Samson, do not even notice the Lord’s strength departing from us. Our God is not obligated to save us from adversity we encounter as a result, especially if we have brought it on ourselves.

Sadly, Samson ultimately forfeited God’s blessing on his life and ended his days in humiliation and grievous bondage. Like a lot of people, Samson‘s life had held great promise, yet he took God’s blessing for granted. As a result, Samson's downfall was great which is a pity.

As I grew and matured as a man I knew He had blessed me with great natural strength and I remember what happened to Samson.  Not only did God bless me with natural strength, but I also received mental and spiritual strength as well. With these blessings come great responsibilities and accountabilities. We all have these strengths and will always have these blessings if we stay obedient to His Word. 

What lesson does Samson’s life have for us today? God is my Helper - Psalm 54:4; God is My Salvation - Psalm 62:7; God is My Strength - 2 Samuel 22:23, Habakkuk 3:19; God is My Refuge - Psalm 46:1; God Gives Wisdom and Knowledge - Ecclesiastes 2:26; God Knows Your Heart - Luke 16:15;

His Presence with Us, AMEN!

Pleasing Him

Friday, October 16, 2020

Colossians 1:9-14 “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him

 Are you living a life that is pleasing to God?  If you were pressed to give an answer how would you respond?  We tend to define “PLEASING GOD” by our own experiences & beliefs, our likes and dislikes, and our positions about life and liberty. Maybe we think pleasing God means, having been baptized for the remission of sins which is extremely important for salvation! Or, it's the absence of certain vices  … not coveting, murdering, stealing, committing adultery, and other BIG sins. This too is extremely important.  

Is this ALL that is required?  What is The litmus test for fully pleasing God?  Is it the one who believes just like me? They must love the people that I love, show disdain for the people I don’t like, and can’t be pleasing to God unless they do.  We want to live lives that please God so we want everyone to think, act, and feel the way we do about all of the issues. The Bible does communicate the idea about “Pleasing God” so consider these verses … Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5, 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, and 1 John 3:16-24.  Pleasing God is absolutely essential to our relationship with Him.  This cannot be overstated!

Here are some thoughts about what “PLEASING TO GOD” looks like from a Biblical perspective.

1. WE MUST BEAR FRUIT (John 15:1-8, Galatians 5:19-25)  It is not a matter of trying harder, it is a matter of drawing closer.  We don’t go out to bear more fruit ... we seek to draw closer to Him and the fruit will come naturally. How do we know if we are doing a good job? It’s whether or not we are different in the day to day world. The life that pleases God is the one that glorifies God in daily living.  It is seen in how we do our job; how we treat our co-workers; the tactics we use and won’t use to make a profit; the way we handle our mistakes; the way we treat our family, friends, and neighbors.   

2. WE MUST CONTINUE TO GROW CLOSER TO GOD (James 4:8) There is a difference in knowing God and knowing about God.  It’s not only about information but also about transformation.  Both are equally important!  When you read the Bible, do you read it to discern God’s will or do you read it to prove a point?  Now there’s nothing wrong with defending the faith (Jude 3) but our reason for reading and studying the word of God should be to draw closer to God in our relationship. In Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” and  in 2 Peter 3:18, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Bible study must be all about God and our relationship with Him.  An added benefit is that we know, understand, and are able to defend the truth of our Great God. 

3. WE MUST ENDURE TROUBLED TIMES WITH FAITH & PATIENCE (Romans 8:18-39)  God is in control! Neither circumstance nor people can overthrow His plan. There is a purpose in the things that happen. God only does Good (James 1:17)!  God never makes a mistake...NEVER!  This world is not our home so don’t let the happenings of this world get you down. Therefore, in hard times…we don’t complain...we trust. We don’t walk away...we listen and try to learn. We don’t despair...we hang on tighter.  And, we trust God because He is in control!

4. WE MUST BE GIVING THANKS (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  How much do we complain?  We must learn to open our eyes to REALITY and the reality is that we take too many BLESSINGS for granted!!! We may never fully understand in this life how much God has truly blessed us.  However, counting our blessings will be a good start. We must realize that In Christ we have indescribable blessings. We must live in a way that expresses gratitude for the amazing gifts that God has given!  We might not fully understand them but we can certainly live and express our thanks to God for all He has given.  

Notice in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Again, Are you living a life that is pleasing to God?  I have no doubt that you talk about faith but the question to ask is: do they see faith in your living?  Look at your life . . . What do YOU see? Hopefully a life that is pleasing to God!

 

Our Default Settings Can Be Changed

Friday, October 09, 2020

In the beginning, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26) In Romans 3:23 it tells us: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

 We all have default settings. Let me share a few thoughts on this. Default settings on a computer are the hardware or software controls preset by the manufacturer. Incorrect default settings can result in strange looking documents, messed up applications, and bogged down computers. Have you ever unthinkingly hit “yes” when your computer asked you something, and then realized you’d made a mistake? The result can be chaos.

 We have personal default settings as well. The default setting, we have about an issue includes the position from which we operate, the mind-set that organizes our thinking, and the context we provide ourselves for dealing with problems and challenges. These are determined by two realities:  we’re made in His image, and we’ve been infected by sin. Spiritually, we’ve all benefited from and struggled with some of our default positions. Some are great: Jesus is Lord; He is trustworthy; He works everything together for good. These are healthy default positions that bless us and others.

Some defaults can hurt God, others, and also ourselves. Sinning, being wounded, or living in error can create default settings that make us react unrighteously, hear others incorrectly, and come to inaccurate conclusions. When we act on those conclusions, we can get into a world of hurt.

 So, here is the Good News.  The good news is that, like computers, our default settings can be changed by our choices and the blood of the Lamb. Today, let's realize that many of our natural reactions are based in wounds that God wants to heal and in wrong thinking that He is working to correct.

 In closing, you have heard people say, “I am too old to change,” or “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but I say this: “Lord, thank You for loving us despite our shortcomings in our lives. We are still created in Your image. You can heal us and correct our way of thinking if we will listen and heed your ways. We thank you for this and all other blessings. Amen.”

 

Lift Up Your Eyes

Friday, October 02, 2020

John 4:35  “Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”

I recently read an article describing the effect of looking down at a 4.7-6.5 inch cell phone screen. The result of constantly looking down at a cell phone screen results in a condition called “text neck” which can be quite painful.

The article states, “Text neck is a modern age term coined by US chiropractor Dr. DL Fishman to describe repeated stress injury and pain in the neck resulting from excessive watching or texting on handheld devices over a sustained period of time. It is also known as Turtle Neck posture or anterior head syndrome.”  

Looking down at our phones keep us from looking out and being aware of our surroundings and the people that fill our world. It also affects the psychological development of children, important relationships, and our driving. The message is clear, WE NEED TO LOOK UP because lives could be won or lost as a result!!

Well, Jesus wasn’t talking about cell phone use in our text but make no mistake about it, He was definitely telling His disciples to LOOK UP. They weren’t aware of the people who were all around them that needed salvation. So, the instructions to His disciples were LOOK UP and LOOK OUT because it’s harvest time now and not later. 

Jesus would give the same message to us today because it is harvest time. So church, LOOK UP!!!  “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.” - Proverbs 11:30 

 

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