Sunday, May 28, 2017

Do You Job Did?

I know that my redeemer lives,

    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
    with my own eyes—I, and not another.
    How my heart yearns within me!
Job 19:25-27

      I just love the confidence expressed in these verses.  Job is such an example of faith under adversity and loss.  Is your faith strong like that?  I know I have questioned God in my own trials and fail to see His goodness right before me at times.  In these 3 short verses, there are some important convictions that Job shares with us.  As believers, we should also carry these truths in our hearts too.

1]  Job believes in the glory of God as his Redeemer.  "That there is a Redeemer provided for fallen man, and Jesus Christ is that Redeemer. "  He believes that Jesus has his own interest in him, as both his creator and redeemer from sin.  
2] Job believes in Jesus second coming.  He believes that in the end, God will triumph over His enemies.  God is victorious over death with His Resurrection and will one day return to create a new heaven and earth.
3] Job recognizes the frailty of his own body.  "Christ’s body saw no corruption, but ours must. And Job mentions this, that the glory of the resurrection he believed and hoped for might shine the more brightly.  It is good for us often to think, not only of the approaching death of our bodies, but of their destruction and dissolution in the grave; yet let not that discourage our hope of their resurrection, for the same power that made man’s body at first, out of common dust, can raise it out of its own dust. This body which we now take such care about, and make such provision for, will in a little time be destroyed. "   We must acknowledge that the strength of our bodies is fading, so we must not put our trust in ourselves.
4] Job sees happiness beyond the grave.  Job speaks of seeing God in his new and glorified spiritual body.  He will have eternal comfort and satisfaction to look forward to and be made complete.
5]Job knows that he alone will stand and give an account for himself before God.  When Job says 'I, and not another', he knows he must maintain his integrity with God.  His friends and the world around him may urge him to abandon his faith, but he knows that no one else will be there to give an account for or against him.
6]Job desires to be in heaven with God.  Job longs for the hope of his sufferings to end.  He yearns that "all my desires are summed up and concluded in this; this will crown and complete them all; let me have this, and I shall have nothing more to desire; it is enough; it is all."

        Job sticks by his faith because he knows that this world is not his home nor his end.   Can we persevere in our faith with whatever trials we face?  Stand by your beliefs that are founded in God's Word because you alone will one day be face to face with your Maker, Sustainer, and hopefully your chosen Savior.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Be that One Today

Romans 15:5-6  " May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

        We are each, but only one.  We might question what one person can do, but each of us have an influence on others beyond our realm of knowing.  Consider someone in your own life that didn't have a big part in your life, but still had a great influence and impact on who you are today.  We can encourage others by our presence despite the struggle to attend, our attitude despite the adversity,  our words despite the temptation to find fault, and our perseverance despite our weariness.
       How can we know how to be an encouragement to others?  We look to how God has provided for ourselves, "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had."  One reason we go through trials is to share with others of how we kept going, despite the mud and the muck. We crack in the dark times of life, so that the 'Light of the World' might seep into our souls, not only to comfort but to convict us.  "The more patience and comfort we receive from God, the better disposed we are to love one another."
      Where do we derive our source of encouragement from?  We must encourage others with the like-mindness of Christ. "so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."  When we struggle, it's tempting to want to sin by pointing blame at others, or even at God.  Job and his wife had this very conversation..." His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”  He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”  We must cling to God's Word and promises, even when the world tries to get us to abandon our faith.
       When you are a light to someone, God may be answering that person's prayer through you.  We are meant to be a light into this world, so that Christ will be seen in us despite the darkness that surrounds us.  Matthew 5: 14-16  "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
       As for myself, I want to be a light to the world around me.  I want others to see how God has created me in this small frame, how He sustains me through multiple blessings and helps me to encourage others, with my words and actions, by what He has carried me through thus far.
      "In our world today—when good is often considered bad and bad is seen as good, when truth and error are switched around—people are looking for direction in life. May we be the ones who shine the light of Christ into our world."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Respect from the 'One Another' Verses

           Today concludes the 4 part blog series on the 'One Another' verses of the New Testament.  We have covered Unity, Humility, Love and if I could put these remaining verses in a category, it would be 'Respect.'  We should always maintain respect with one another, whether we agree or disagree.  We show respect in both our approach and gentleness of our words.
           We should not excuse ourselves in our duty to serve others, but we must also not grow weary in doing good either.  It's easy for all of us to get tired, frustrated or feel unappreciated for our efforts.  We must remember our motives should be from a Christ-like love, not a man-sought approval.  "How long should we keep praying and reaching out to those we love?  Galations 6:10  “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. 
           "We should communicate our knowledge and experiences to one another. We should join in prayer and praise one with another. We should set a good example one before another. And it is the duty of those especially who live in the same vicinity and family thus to comfort and edify one another; and this is the best neighborhood. "
         "What do we fear when we will not submit to one another? Is it the loss of control? Loss of power? Do we fail to make peace with an offended brother because we are afraid of losing face? We see that pride keeps rearing its ugly head, causing us to feel that we are about to lose something."
         In practical ways, we make God's love a reality to others when we give them our undivided attention, show interest in what they think and do, and share the gospel and life with them in a gentle and respectful way.

The rest of the 'one another' verses...

  1. Do not judge one another, and don’t put a stumbling block in a brother’s way (Ro 14:13)
  2. Greet one another with a kiss (Ro 16:161 Co 16:202 Co 13:12)
  3. Husbands and wives: don’t deprive one another of physical intimacy (1 Co 7:5)
  4. Bear one another’s burdens (Ga 6:2)
  5. Speak truth to one another (Ep 4:25)
  6. Don’t lie to one another (Co 3:9)
  7. Comfort one another concerning the resurrection (1 Th 4:18)
  8. Encourage and build up one another (1 Th 5:11)
  9. Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (He 10:24)
  10. Pray for one another (Jas 5:16)
  11. Be hospitable to one another (1 Pe 4:9)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Love One Another


         We continue today with the 'One Another' blog series and focus on Love.  One third of the 'one another' verses specifically instruct Christians to love one another.  I think love is at the root of which all the other verses stem from.  1 Corinthians 13:1  "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."  To love one another is to love fellow believers as Christ loves us. Those who love like Christ in the Holy Spirit’s power will give evidence that they are followers of Jesus Christ.
         From ...“How then can the believer in Christ love as Christ loved?” The believer in Christ has the Holy Spirit living within him (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). By obeying the Spirit, through the Word of God, the believer can love like Christ does. He shows that unconditional, sacrificial, forgiving love to fellow believers, but it doesn’t stop there. He also shows the love of Christ to friends, to family members, to coworkers, etc. (Ephesians 5:18–6:4Galatians 5:1622–23). Even enemies are the recipients of Christ’s love (see Matthew 5:43–48).
          "We must not only put off anger and wrath, but we must put on compassion and kindness; not only cease to do evil, but learn to do well; not only not do hurt to any, but do what good we can to all."
          Love one another "according to his command and in compliance with his authority, by strength derived from him, with an eye to his glory, and depending upon his merit for the acceptance of what is good and the pardon of what is amiss." 
         'Love one another' has no prerequisites or restrictions.  Yes, some are more lovable than others but God loved each of us first and while we were still sinners and separated from Him.  What an example to follow!  'Red, yellow, black and white.. they are precious in His sight...Jesus loves the little children of the world.' 
         As for myself, it's easy to love those in my circle but extending my circle to include more is not always my desire.  When I began going to a new church a couple of years ago, grace and love was extended to me that made me feel welcomed.  God's desire for me to be there soon became my desire.  Love extended is often love accepted by one another.


Ways in which we can show love to another...

1] Compassion to the sufferings of others
2]Kindness that promotes friendship
3] Humbleness in both mind and demeanor
4] Meekness to those that provoke us
5] Long suffering to those who continue to provoke us
6] Bear with others in what is disagreeable to us
7] Have a readiness to forgive.... Even as Christ forgave you, so also do you.

'Love One Another' Verses... 
  1. Love one another (Jn 13:3415:1217Ro 13:81 Th 3:124:91 Pe 1:221 Jn 3:114:711; 2 Jn 5)
  2. Through love, serve one another (Ga 5:13)
  3. Tolerate one another in love (Ep 4:2)
  4. Greet one another with a kiss of love (1 Pe 5:14)
  5. Be devoted to one another in love (Ro 12:10)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Humility With One Another

Jesus told His disciples, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).

           I want to continue on today with my 'One Another' blog series and address the issue of humility.  About 15%  of the 'one another' verses in the New Testament stress an attitude of humility and respect among believers.  Humility is a difficult issue to grasp, because as soon as you think you've got it.. you've lost it with a prideful sense of self reliance.  "Pride has a way of distorting how we see ourselves while humility offers a realistic perspective."
          Humbling ourselves is not just about being a servant to others, but includes being humble enough to accept help.  Pride is the biggest deterrent to the helpful hand of another. Why do we hinder God's provisions for our 'real needs' with our limits on how much we will accept from another?  "It may not be easy to be the one on the receiving end—especially if you’ve usually been the first one to help other people. But with humility, we can allow God to gently care for us by a variety of means when we need help."
          From Matthew Henry's commentary on humility, "We must esteem others in lowliness of mind better than ourselves, be severe upon our own faults and charitable in our judgments of others, be quick in observing our own defects and infirmities, but ready to overlook and make favorable allowances for the defects of others. We must esteem the good which is in others above that which is in ourselves; for we best know our own unworthiness and imperfections." 
          As for myself, humility is an everyday reality I have to submit to.  It does get easier with practice but it's never truly easy.  Pride is ever-present when I have to let others help me but I must turn that prideful attitude into one of gratitude.  I must remember there are other ways of doing things, than just 'my' way.  I must think of my helper's needs, not just my own.  I must flip the 'M' in Me, to make it a 'We' state of mind.  
         The greatest act of humility was when God became human and sent His Son to be with us, teach us, suffer for us, die for us and conquer death for us.  He came to serve, not to be served.  "We must walk in the same spirit and in the same steps with the Lord Jesus, who humbled himself to sufferings and death for us; not only to satisfy God’s justice, and pay the price of our redemption, but to set us an example, and that we might follow his steps." Philippians 2:1-11 are verses that call us to imitate Christ's humility... what an example to follow with one another.  May we all be like-minded with the Spirit of Christ.

Proverbs 22:4
"Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life."
James 3:13
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."

Humility with 'one another' verses:

  1. Give preference to one another in honor (Ro 12:10)
  2. Regard one another as more important than yourselves (Php 2:3)
  3. Serve one another (Ga 5:13)
  4. Wash one another’s feet (Jn 13:14)
  5. Don’t be haughty: be of the same mind (Ro 12:16)
  6. Be subject to one another (Ep 5:21)
  7. Clothe yourselves in humility toward one another (1 Pe 5:5)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Unity With One Another

1 Peter 4:7-11  The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

       The world is a divided place in all kinds of areas but 'the church' should be a united front for The Gospel and the fulfillment of The Great Commission.  God knew how our personalities and own agendas would try to interfere with His work through us so I think that is why 1/3 of the 'one another' commands in the New Testament deals with the unity of the church.  We should all strive to think of others before ourselves and when we do, unity will follow. "Misunderstandings and disagreements occur everywhere we find people. Church is no exception. If we don’t handle our differences in a healthy way, they can harden into divisions." "God's goal is cooperation, not competition."  
       As the verse above says 'love covers over a multitude of sins', so let us show the same forgiveness, compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility and patience with others, as God has blessed ourselves with.   May we live out what we sing about... "We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord, and we pray that all unity will one day be restored.  We will walk hand in hand and together we'll spread the news that God in our land.  We will work side by side and we'll guard each other's dignity and save each other's pride. And they'll know we are Christians by our love."
       Galations 6:10  "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

Specific 'One Another' Verses on Unity....
  1. Be at peace with one another (Mk 9:50)
  2. Don’t grumble among one another (Jn 6:43)
  3. Be of the same mind with one another (Ro 12:1615:5)
  4. Accept one another (Ro 15:7)
  5. Wait for one another before beginning the Communion (1 Co 11:33)
  6. Don’t bite, devour, and consume one another with quarrels and animosity (Ga 5:15)
  7. Don’t boastfully challenge or envy one another (Ga 5:26).
  8. Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ep 4:2)
  9. Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ep 4:32)
  10. Bear with and forgive one another (Co 3:13)
  11. Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Th 5:15)
  12. Don’t complain against one another (Jas 4:115:9)
  13. Confess sins to one another (Jas 5:16)
     What a list to strive for!!  We can't achieve it on our own but with the Holy Spirit guiding us.. all things are possible through Christ.  May His Word be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Your Response

1 Peter 3:13-17  "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."

Ecclessiastes 7:8-9  "The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.  Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,    for anger resides in the lap of fools."

      Do you ever feel trigger-ready with your thoughts and opinions?  Yes, me too.  We may feel the oppression of the world when we try to share our Christian beliefs with others.  As we are to be bold in our faith, we should always be respectful and gentle in both our words and approach.  In general, we should avoid indiscretion, injustice, falsehood and merciless speech with others.
         Our Christian faith can only be supported by a good conscience and a holy-led life.  " A good conscience and a good conversation are the best means to secure a good name; these give a solid reputation and a lasting one."

         How do we respond to uncomfortable situations?

1] We must be humble.
2] We must bear the spiritual fruit of patience.
3] We must control our passion with wisdom and grace.
4] We are to make the best of what is, without making it worse.

        "It is folly to complain of the badness of our own times when we have more reason to complain of the badness of our own hearts (if men’s hearts were better, the times would mend) and when we have more reason to be thankful that they are not worse, but that even in the worst of times we enjoy many mercies, which help to make them not only tolerable, but comfortable."
        God wants us to understand that our afflictions are not meaningless.  We can be rebellious in our response to hardships but that's not the path God intends for us to take. When sin and suffering meet, the suffering becomes extreme, unprofitable, unbearable and destructive to the mind and soul.
         As for myself, I can't control what is happening to my physical body but I can [try to] control my response to it's progressive weakening.  I try to choose daily to keep an attitude of perseverance, but I sometimes fail.  God gives us both mountains and valleys to make us stronger.  I don't just call it quits when I can no longer do something that I previously could. God's mercies are new every morning and what He gives I want to make the most of. Adapt and proceed forward!!  When God wants me to quit my earthly race, He will call me home. Until then, Lord please keep me humble and patient as I make the best out of what You give with wisdom and grace.