Friday, November 30, 2007

11 30 07 Waiting is not Wasting (V)Basic Needs

“All of your creatures wait for you to provide them with food on a regular basis.”
(Psalm 104:27 NET)

“Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done!
They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!”
(Psalm 106:13 NLT)

“My eyes grow tired as I wait for your promise to be fulfilled. I say,
‘When will you comfort me?’”
(Psalm 119:82 NET)

“My eyes grow tired as I wait for your deliverance,
for your reliable promise to be fulfilled.”
(Psalm 119:123 NET)

All throughout Psalms, we see the psalmists in conversation with the Lord. At times it is with praise, at times in distress, times of need, even times wishing for the Lord to destroy the lives of those persecuting the people. Very often, the words are dealing with the very basics of life: food, direction, protection, consolation, physical or spiritual strength, and an assurance of promises to be kept.

In the few verses above, we see a glimpse of the needs of the individual and the people as a whole.
Hungry, we find ourselves settling for just about anything, when what we need is not just healthy food to eat, but we need to feed upon His Word.

Stressed out and confused with life’s challenges, we forge ahead without seeking Godly counsel and we wonder why we are so entrapped. Oh, how we soon forget how God has delivered us in the past!

Growing impatient with God’s plan to be fulfilled, we take our life into our own hands and do what seems right in our own eyes, then ask the Lord to fix things!

We grow weary, our mind wonders, our heart aches, and even our bodies grow frail and in pain, simply because we have lost touch with the Master.

We are all somewhat caught up in the me world and my timing. Instant gratification is the thing! Buy now, pay later……we don’t still believe that do we? WAITING IS NOT WASTING time, but rather waiting is time invested in eternity. We allow the Lord to meet our BASIC NEEDS today and at the same time receive a glimpse of eternity as well. We can’t take anything out of this world, but we can send things ahead of us! As we trust God for BASIC NEEDS here, we see how sweet it will be one day with Him in heaven. Do we really want to see God today? Then we need to allow Him to work!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

11 29 07 Waiting is not Wasting (IV)
As Long As He Says!

“My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.”
(Psalm 62:5 NKJV)

There are times in our Christian walk when we are left alone and in silence. We wait expectantly for answers, but hear nothing but idle chatter from friends, family, even strangers. It’s as though nothing really matters until we hear from God: a whisper, a roar, a rushing wind. Anything DADDY……just speak to my heart. I’ll wait AS LONG AS HE SAYS!

“God, the one and only--I'll wait as long as he says.
Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not?”
(Psalm 62:5 The Message)

Isn’t The Message so vivid? God, my One and Only; I’ll wait AS LONG AS HE SAYS; EVERYTHING I have ever hoped for comes from my DADDY! All good and perfect gifts; every test and trial, everything He wants me to experience, is at His approval and just for me! He knows what plans He has for me and they are not to fail, but to succeed according to His plans, not the ways of the world. I really want to be the clay in The Potter’s hands, even if it means a long, lonely wait at times.

Pastor Tony Evans speaks of how we can praise the Lord “‘round midnight”. Paul and Silas did it. Daniel did it. David did it as well. Anyone can shout “Hallelujah” when things are good and rosy, but who can praise Him when things get dark, lonely, and just a little bit stormy? Everyone will have a midnight! If not, we must not be doing much to upset the devil! To the one who loves the Lord and wants to please Him, midnight is coming, if it’s not already at the door.

So are we willing to wait on the Lord? Are we prepared to let them shut us in with the lions and wait until morning? Are we willing to seek shelter in the dark, cold, lonely caves of the mountains and wait AS LONG AS HE SAYS before He acts?

Joy comes in the morning, but at times the nights can be long. WAITING IS NOT WASTING time, but as we wait with the Lord, we grow in our relationship with Him. Trials not only mature us and prepare us for future tasks, but above all, it gets us closer our DADDY. How else did David know how to run after God’s own heart but to spend intimate time with Him. We can’t expect everything to be alright all the time. We will have trials and crosses to bear. The more we do for Christ the more trying things become at times. And we count it all joy, because even in the dark of midnight, we can wait AS LONG AS HE SAYS! I will “continue to praise You”! (Psalm 71:14)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11 28 07 Waiting is not Wasting (III)
My God!

Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention.”
(Psalm 42:11)

Check out how C.H. Spurgeon saw this passage:

(Of Psalm 42) It is the cry of a man far removed from the outward ordinances and worship of God, sighing for the long loved house of his God; and at the same time it is the voice of a spiritual believer, under depressions, longing for the renewal of the divine presence, struggling with doubts and fears, but yet holding his ground by faith in the living God. Most of the Lord's family have sailed on the sea which is here so graphically described. It is probable that David's flight from Absalom may have been the occasion for composing this Maschil.
(Of verse 11)In the rehearsal of his sorrow, he finds after all no sufficient ground for being disquieted. Looked in the face, his fears were not so overwhelming as they seemed when shrouded in obscurity. Hope thou in God. Let the anchor still keep its hold. God is faithful, God is love, therefore there is room and reason for hope. Who is the health of my countenance, and my God. This is the same hopeful expression as that contained in verse five, but the addition of and my God shows that the writer was growing in confidence, and was able defiantly to reply to the question, "Where is thy God?" Here, even here, he is, ready to deliver me. I am not ashamed to own him amid your sneers and taunts, for he will rescue me out of your hands. Thus faith closes the struggle, a victor in fact by anticipation, and in heart by firm reliance. The saddest countenance shall yet be made to shine, if there be a taking of God at his word and an expectation of his salvation.
"For yet I know I shall him praise; Who graciously to me, the health is of my countenance, Yea, mine own God is he." 1

Mr. Surgeon emphasizes the fact that David was very personal with his God. and “growing in confidence”! David just knew God would rescue him again, because He had done it before and David trusted God with the details! He had to deal with the inner voice raising doubts, but also as Spurgeon points out, there were those around him who would ask, “Where is your God now?”

How real is this to you and me? Oh, how we doubt God at times when the money is less than the monthly bills; when our child’s illness lingers on, or when a relationship does not seem to be salvageable. How do we answer the whispers, “Where is His God now?”

Let me tell you about “MY GOD”! He’s is my Rock and my salvation. He is my friend and He does stick closer than a brother. He is my comforter, my healer, my sustainer, my supplier, my lawyer, my doctor, my banker, my God is!!! How can I say this? It’s simple: He has been there before for me and I know He will be there again! He says it and He never forgets me!

You see, unless we have been through something with our God, we can’t say He’s been there and we can’t sat He’ll be there in the future. But as we go through and experience His faithfulness, we come to trust Him more and more. There is nothing like being in the middle of the storm and holding onto the hand of the One controlling it!

Thank God for the storms as well as the calm, breezy days of life. WAITING IS NOT WASTING, when I’m waiting on MY GOD! Joy is coming……

1 Spurgeon, C.H., TREASURY OF DAVID, PSALM 42,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

11 27 07 Waiting is not Wasting (part II)
(Confidence in Trials)

“Be strong and confident, all you who wait on the Lord”
(Psalm 31:24)

The Hebrew reads be strong and let your heart be confident. Even as a believer goes through various challenges and disappointments, because we trust in the Lord, our hearts are not weary; there is an inner strength and confidence that God is in control! We can have CONFIDENCE IN TRIALS of any sort, because our God will take us through. Read the following commentaries concerning the psalmist David, the mighty King, and the one known to be after God’s very heart:

“The prayer of a believer in time of deep distress: In the first part, cries for help are mingled with expressions of confidence. Then the detail of griefs engrosses his attention, till, in the assurance of strong but submissive faith, he rises to the language of unmingled joyful trust and exhorts others to like love and confidence towards God.”1

“Let not any yield to unbelief, or think, under discouraging circumstances, that they are cut off from before the eyes of the Lord, and left to the pride of men. Lord, pardon our complaints and fears; increase our faith, patience, love, and gratitude; teach us to rejoice in tribulation and in hope. The deliverance of Christ, with the destruction of his enemies, ought to strengthen and comfort the hearts of believers under all their afflictions here below, that having suffered courageously with their Master; they may triumphantly enter into his joy and glory.”2

Look again at the words I have taken the liberty to underline above: strong submissive faith, joyful trust, confidence, rejoice in tribulation, strengthen and comfort, suffered courageously, and triumphantly. These words are not words of weakness, cowardice, or fear! As we read in Psalm 23:4, God goes through our darkest valleys with us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us! In fact, it most of our darkest hours, we are the ones who have chosen to leave the presence of our God. He is always available for our cries of help, forgiveness, mercy, His love and grace!

So as we wait for relief or for that blessing we believe we need, let’s wait confidently; allowing our hearts to be secure in knowing God is right there with us. What more do we need? WAITING IS NOT WASTING!

1Jamieson, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 31". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible".
2Matthew Henry’s Commentary,, Copyright 2001-2007 Christ Notes, LLC

Monday, November 26, 2007

11 26 07 Waiting is not Wasting

“…as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13 NET)

I was reading from an article on this morning concerning waiting on the Lord. As I researched, I found many, many scriptural references to those who were patient enough to wait upon the Lord, not quickly taking things into their own hands or according to their own abilities. This is still something I am working on, but I would like to think I am getting better at (you’ll have to ask my wife!). WAITING IS NOT WASTING time, but time that can be spent in prayer and intimate fellowship with Christ.

The Expectation of the Blessed Hope
“…as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Having mentioned this present and temporary age, the apostle quickly moved to the age to come that will be ushered in with the glorious appearing of the Savior. This is to be another strong motivation to godly living, a fact that is even more obvious in the Greek text. “As we wait” represents the translation of another adverbial participle that is dependent on the previous verb, “that we should live.” We could easily translate it, “we should live … by waiting expectantly for the happy fulfillment of our hope (literally, the blessed hope)…” The participle points us to one of the means by which we are to live in this present age, by living with a view to the return of Christ. Waiting for the blessed hope provides added incentives that enable us to live godly lives in this present age.

The object we are to wait for is described as “the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” or literally, “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”1

I must admit to you and seek your prayers for me in this regard. As I grow a missionary, I still find myself trying to “provide” by my own means. It is a struggle to “wait” upon the Lord, since I am still quite used to working overtime, or using lay-away to make it through the Holydays. There is no overtime pay or a promise that the funds will be there when the lay-away is due, so I must wait. I often say, “If God does not want us to have, we can’t have it!” Simple, but still quite a challenge to me to grasp at times. WAITING IS NOT WASTING time!
Pray with me and for me that as the prophets of old; we all will learn to wait upon the Lord: for His timing, His strength, His provisions, and His will! AMEN!

1 Keathley, III, J. Hampton, Th.M., The Foundation, Means, and Motivation for Godly Behavior, The Letter to Titus: An Exegetical and Devotional Commentary, Copyright 2007.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

11 21 07 Thankful Living
“……always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light.” (Colossians 1:12 NLT)

J. Hampton Keathley III, Th.M. a 1966 graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and a former pastor of 28 years wrote, “Thankfulness is an important subject to the apostle Paul and in the Word of God as a whole. Some combination of the word is found 169 times in 162 verses in the NASB and 195 times in 186 verses in the NET Bible. Paul uses the concept over 40 times in his epistles and seven times in Colossians alone (cf. 1:2, 3,12; 2:7; 3:15, 17; 4:2). The concept of thankfulness in the New Testament comes from the use of two Greek words. The first is charizomai, which comes from charis, "grace." The second is homologeo, "to confess, acknowledge," (Heb. 13:15), (cf. also exomologeo, [Matt. 11:25]). Thankfulness is a mental and/or verbal expression of one's acknowledgement and appreciation of God's person, His grace, blessings, and sovereign work in one's life and the world. Some key ideas related to thankfulness are: biblical understanding, trust, humility and grace, the right focus and values, and joy. It is through the possession and function of these qualities that we become thankful. So, why should we be thankful?”

THANKFUL LIVING honors God; THANKFUL LIVING is commanded in Scripture and not living a thankful life leads to a humanistic point of view and dependence upon ourselves and others, not God, for our daily needs. We become occupied with “me and my problems” instead of all God has given to us. We become too involved with the creation rather than the CREATOR!

Is it not enough to live a thankful life simply in response to the fact that God has redeemed us from a sinful nature and an eternity of hell (pain, torture, and separation from God)? We, who are sinners, now have an inheritance with a holy and righteous God and through no efforts on our own behalf. It is simply because of His love, His grace, His mercy, through His Son, Jesus Christ!

This Thanksgiving, before we watch the games, bless the food, and thank those around us who have meant so much to us; let’s take more than just a few minutes to assess if we’ve been living a thankful life. Let’s assess the way we have been living before a gracious and forgiving God. Let’s seek His forgiveness for putting Him on the shelf and re-commit to thankful living, so a very selfish and thankless world will see Him in how we live and ask “why?”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

11 20 07 Thankful
“Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:15-17 NET)

As we approach the Thanksgiving Holyday, there is much indeed to be THANKFUL for. Problem is we have so much we neglect to appreciate the basics in life! The most precious gift we have as a Christian is our relationship with the Lord, secured at the moment we asked Him to save us from our sin; the peace and tranquility of knowing that whatever we face, we face it knowing He is with us! It is a heart peace…..a soul peace if you will. It surely goes beyond any human understanding!

As we go through life and all the situations we face, we must allow His word to dwell richly within us and to saturate our hearts and minds. We need to treasure His Word and also treasure the relationships we have because of our fellowship with Christ. In my travels on mission trips and ministry on the streets and in the homes of those in need, I find these joys: God’s love is alive, His church is growing and active, and His plan is unfolding as He desires. How THANKFUL I am that He desires to include you and me in His work! To experience the fellowship and true friendship I have with believers throughout the world is simply amazing: and all because the blood of Christ makes us blood! Do you realize how big God’s family is and how effective we can yet be?

As the Lord’s representative, His ambassadors, we need to be devoted to His service, and trusting in His power. Our belief must relate to our behavior, in all aspects of life. My desire is to live each day with and attitude of gratitude, THANKFUL for one more day to serve Him and “love on people” as friends of mine in New Orleans say!

Friday, November 9, 2007

11 09 07 One Another’s (Part IX)
Our Forever family

“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.
I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 MESSAGE)

Many people feel as though being in church and being with fellow believers is not so important. We have all heard the saying, “I can worship the Lord wherever I am!” This is true and we should worship the Lord wherever we are; but that’s another topic! True, we can worship Him anywhere, but we can’t fellowship with believers just anywhere; we must be in one another’s presence! Corporate worship (Hebrews 10:25) is needed to keep one another encouraged, even more so as we see the Day approaching! It’s good to go out together as well, so the world can see Christians in everyday life. We don’t just sing and pray, we live and breathe and enjoy life: all to the glory of God! If we’re not enjoying the company of fellow believers, we need to start. If we are, we need to keep it up. It’s a good thing when we dwell together in harmony with one another! (Psalm 133)

“See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone,
but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:15 NET)

Or as the MESSAGE version reads in such plain English, “And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15 MESSAGE)

Just like in any family, we will get on one another’s nerves at times. But we must be careful not to react, but act in love and with Christ’ Spirit, always pursuing the good for one another, both as individuals and for our family, the Body of Christ. We cannot condone sin, but at the same time pursue one another and keep one another accountable. As we learn how important it is to be together, as family, we’ll come to regard the Body of Christ just as closely, if not closer, than our biological family. We must love the brotherhood! After all this is OUR FOREVER FAMILY.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

One Another’s (Part VIII)
(More Than Enough)

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow

for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.”

(1 Thessalonians 3:12 NIV)

Christ gives us more than enough; more grace, more mercy, joy, protection, and love. If we could ever just imagine all the things the Lord provides for us, we would be truly overwhelmed. Just knowing the times He protects us from dangers we never even see would be enough! We all gladly and appreciatively receive all He gives; who in their right mind would want to say “NO” to His gracious gifts toward us?

Now that we have so much in Christ, what are we doing with them? All Christ asks of us is to share what He had done for us. No, He’s not asking all of us to die for anyone (though we might); He’s not asking us to suffer beatings as he did (though we might); He’s simply asking all of us to share, by how we live, what we say, and how we give. We are asked to be His disciple and His representatives in this world. What we have received from Christ, we are to give away to others in need. His love, His grace, His mercy is not to be hoarded, but freely and actively shared.

The NET Bible reads, “And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we do for you.” Paul urges us to be overflowing and increasing in our love toward not just believers, but to all. He also was speaking from his example to them. He walked the talk! We just can’t talk about love and grace; we need to live it out in abundant ways for ALL to see! No room for phoniness, just a life of selfless living and giving. Read this recent account I read as researching this verse:

So then, let us put aside sins of pride, arrogance, and “me-first,” thinking and let us really and truly give thought and action to the good of others. Is there someone who needs your help? Can you give it? If not, why not? Is God honored by your decision? I realize that we cannot help every person, but surely we can help someone, with something! Is there a person that needs love and affection or food and water or spiritual instruction and discipleship? Go and help them. Or, find someone who can help them; perhaps you have a book that would help them or a skill that would meet their needs. Can you carry a friend’s burden? Is someone worried about their errant teenager? Is there a family that struggles with making ends meet? Has someone recently passed away, leaving a struggling and hurting family behind? Are there elderly people in your town or city that need care and attention? Are there policemen, politicians, and social workers who need encouragement and blessing? Go. Bless them in the name of Christ, share the gospel, draw close, and in the strength that only God can supply serve into the needs, speaking the truth in love. May God give us both the stubborn faith of the Thessalonians and their persistent love for others.[1]

[1] Herrick, Greg Th.M., Ph.D., Stubborn Faith and Persistent Love, Copyright 2007.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

11 07 07 One Another’s (Part VII)
By His Strength, In His Name, With Thanksgiving

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:12-17)

Anyone who thinks the Christian life is easy and comfortable must have met Christ on a barren island and then taken up to heaven immediately. Relationships are the key to the Christian life and our relationship to Christ is the most vital of all. However, it’s these very relationships with others that challenge us! We can only honor the Lord in relationships living BY HIS STRENGTH, IN HIS NAME, AND WITH THANKSGIVING!

Some of our greatest issues come in relationships. Other people can pose such challenges to our desires to be like Jesus! It sounds so easy to be kindhearted and forgiving until faced with a real person who brings real problems into our lives. Those with whom we have to deal daily, our family members and co-workers, are often the most difficult relationships because of our constant interaction. We wish for relief from them, but the reality is that God uses difficult people to teach us to be like Jesus.1

Not only are we called not to hurt anyone, but we are also commanded to do what good we can do for all we meet. We are the elect of God and we must live in such a way that reflects His goodness, grace, humility, and forgiveness. It is our duty to forgive, even initiating the forgiveness when we feel as though we have been wronged. After all, was it not Jesus who died for us while we were yet sinners……enemies of God……those hurting Him? BY HIS STRENGTH we can do the things we are too weak to do in the flesh, according to His will. IN HIS NAME we can break down walls of ignorance and prejudice, and WITH THANKSGIVING we realize all Christ has done for us, so we in turn do it for one another!

1Daigle, Kay, A Walk in the Clouds: A Study of Colossians for Wise Women, Northwest Bible Church 2006, Copyright 2007.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

11 06 07 One Another’s (Part VI)
The Empty Applause of Men

“Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.” (Philippians 2:3 NET)

There is a fine line concerning the motivation behind the good things people do today. So many awards are given for so little accomplishment or actual work, it is as if all we have to do is think of a good idea we’ll receive some sort of bonus of reward. Though many of us have a heart to do good things and help people, many times we get offended if no one notices. Let us all be assured: God notices everything; even our very motives and thought s behind our actions!

As believers, one needs to do things simply out of concern, passion, and pure love for others. We must be careful not to seek the vainglory, or THE EMPTY APPLAUSE OF MEN. Just as the good Samaritan would not pass up an opportunity to personally care for one in need (though other religious types were too busy to stop) and even invest his time and resources on the man, we must put others needs above our own needs and desires.

We have to be very careful to allow the Lord to supply all the praise we’ll ever need. It is a challenge. Our human nature is such that we get hurt when we are not recognized. We feel neglected and unappreciated. Our inclination is to pull back. But just as Jesus instructed the disciples when the discussion of positions came up;

“It must not be this way among you! Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you 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)

We have to be careful not to get caught up in THE EMPTY APPLAUSE OF MEN. May we all strive for the “well done” of God on that great and wonderful Day when all true believers will stand before His throne. That’s the Day I am doing my best to concentrate upon. I must keep reminding myself: Thy Kingdom come…Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven! I long for that Day Jesus returns and all I will seek is His praise and no longer fight the temptations this world offers!

Monday, November 5, 2007

11 05 07 One Another’s (Part V)
Extreme Christians

“Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” (Ephesians 4:25 NKJV)

As Paul addressed the Ephesians to no longer act as the Gentiles around them, now that they were new creatures in Christ, his words ring true today, nearly 2,000 years later! We especially need to speak the truth to one another, those of us in the family of God, so we truly know one another without any false pretenses. We have so many masks and facades we carry around with us, many of us rarely know ourselves.

So the challenge is not just to speak the truth, but to live truthfully in the world and to live transparent so those around us can see us for who we really are and see what Christ has done and is still doing in and through us. If He could only be made more visible for others to actually see, many more lost sheep would find their shepherd! To me this is being an EXTREME CHRISTIAN.

“Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NET)

Paul leaves us with a challenge: INSTEAD is added here, to link the texts and remind us to no longer live as we did before Christ found us and treat one another as Christ treats us. We believers are to be compassionate, caring, sympathetic, tender-hearted (referring to the inner bowels of a person); showing a deep and affectionate (EXTREME) care for one another; eusplagchnos in the common Greek language. If we are to live a compassionate life of caring and serving, we can’t afford to be phony in any way. Others will see it and our effectiveness for Christ will be lost. People know the real thing when they see it. Remember the Samaritan woman at the well? She knew she saw the Lord! People will know a true Christian or a phony! We must be real, transparent, an open book! This an extreme world and it begs for EXTREME CHRISTIANS! Are you radical enough dude?

Friday, November 2, 2007

11 02 07 One Another’s IV Not Just a Band-Aid

“Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Paul had just finished instructing the church in Galatia how to restore one who is in sin. Mending the soul comes from the Greek word “katartizo” is a surgical term referring to the setting of a bone or even mending a fishing net back to workable condition. It’s what we believers who are living by the Spirit of God need to do for those who have been overtaken and fallen to sin. Paul goes on to say we need to “carry one another’s burdens”, which by the way fulfills the things Christ set out to teach each and every of His followers. Whether that burden (an overload if you will), is sin, sickness, family troubles, or the simple challenges of life, we are to come alongside and help bear the load as needed.

What is needed is NOT JUST A BAND-AID, but healing and restoration. We realize that when we are cut deeply, much more is needed than a band-aid to stop the bleeding. At times we need to carry our friend to seek professional help. Other times we need to spend time with them and dress the wound, apply antibiotics, and maybe even come back periodically and clean and redress the wound. Healing is a process that does not take place overnight and being restored to full health may take weeks, months, even years.

Would we leave an abandoned child bleeding in the streets or our own precious son or daughter writhing in pain? Why then would we allow an unbelieving friend to suffer in sin or a fellow child of God to languish in the embarrassment of a divorce, the hurt of a prodigal, or the challenges of making financial ends meet? We are quick to apply band-aids, but will we invest time, personal care, and consistent financial aid? Jesus told us to always do a little more……more than the world would do. Walk alongside a friend two miles instead of one, so what if we may get a little tired and lose some sleep. Give our lunch away, we’ll eat tomorrow. Sacrifice time, we have all eternity to look forward to anyway! Perfect religion, the kind Jesus and His brother James spoke about, was caring for the orphans, widows, and the like. In our relationship with Christ, we need to do more than JUST A BAND-AID; invest in the healing process!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

11-01-01 One Another’s Part III Freed to serve

“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh,
but through love serve one another.”
(Galatians 5:13 NET)

Christian freedom is in no way a license or a permit to do what we want to do nor is it an entrapment into slavery. Freedom in Christ is liberty from the bonds of sin and freedom to now serve Christ and others. This liberty must be maintained and not abused. We who have accepted the salvation in Christ must not allow the freedom we have cause us to launch back into a sinful lifestyle! As we grow deeper in love with the Savior, that love should encourage us to serve Him and one another in love. We have bee FREED TO SERVE, not to self-indulgence.

“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”
(Colossians 1:28-29 NIV)

We believers need to consciously put our efforts to the servant-hood of Christ, thus making it a priority to be a servant to others. It is not necessarily our energy, but the power of the Holy Spirit working within us which spurs us on. I’ll be honest, it won’t always be the most popular thing to do or the most convenient thing to do when it comes to sacrificing my wants to the call Christ has upon me to serve others. However, I have been FREED TO SERVE, not to fulfill my selfish desires. I must choose to serve! Through the love of Christ, He compels me to use that freedom to meet the needs of others. It is Christ, not me! It’s all for His glory and not for my recognition.

It’s not an impossible task; Christ did it, being obedient to the Father. Paul did it; so did Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Mary, and so many others. I have personally witnessed men and women within my life live a totally sacrificial life for Christ in giving themselves for others. I have no excuse and am not without example. I have been FREED TO SERVE and I am learning the joy in that liberty!

Storms and Faith

Jesus got into a boat. His disciples followed him.  Suddenly a terrible storm came up on the lake. The waves crashed over the boat. But Jesu...