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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Be thou an example…

1 Timothy 4:12  “…be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Can the world point to you and say “Now that’s what a Christian should be like, that’s what Christ would do.” What a responsibility God has laid on us. In this passage of scripture, Paul is telling his young preacher boy Timothy the importance of maintaining the testimony of his leadership position. If Timothy was going to make it in the ministry he would have to maintain a blameless reputation. People do not accept, what they do not respect; therefore, leaders must live an exemplary life if they are going to make a difference in the lives of those they lead.

Today, as in the early days of the 1st Century church, it is still important that everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. We must be the example or pattern of Christ’s person and character. This word “example” carries the idea of a mold that wax would be poured into, to make the candle; or a cookie cutter that would stamp out every cookie the same. God intends for every one of his children to be the same as his dear Son. You may be the only Bible people read and the only image of Christ they ever see….what will they see?

Here is a list of areas we are to be examples…

1. “in word” = the things we say. God’s people should talk different and respond different to criticism and anger than the people of the world do. Our topics of conversation should be Christ honoring & clean. At any given time, our vocabulary should be clean enough for the church house.

2. “in conversation” = our behavior, the things we say with our actions. Truly, actions speak louder than words. We can talk the talk all day long, but if we do not walk the walk, Christ will not be pleased and the world will see us as just another “religious hypocrite”

3. “in charity”= benevolence, or the love we show through our giving. We should be examples of Christ’s giving. No one gave more than Christ, and we that have received the gift of his salvation know better than anyone what it is to be blessed by the charity of another. Be a blessing, and give.

4. “in spirit” = the state of our inner-man; our attitude. The Bible tells you to “rule” over your spirit, which is to have self-control. God’s people should be an example of temperance, longsuffering and patience. Don’t let the situation dictate how you behave; be Christ-like no matter what is going on around you.

5. “in faith” = conviction of God’s truth; our beliefs. What we believe about God’s word will be seen in our behavior, because belief affects behavior! When we believe God’s word it will cause us to live by the Bible and trust him for our every need. Live it like you believe it!

6. “in purity” = cleanness, in mind, body & spirit. In a world of lust and sexual immorality, perversion and immodesty; we need some examples of old fashioned, heavenly purity. Don’t live like the world, in the lust of the flesh and corruption of heart and mind; live in the purity of Christ. Keep yourself clean within and without. Adopt this mentality to help you stay in Christ’s purity; “Would Christ have done this, would his mind think this, would his lips say this?”

I am reminded of a plaque that hung in the little country church where I grew up; it said “What kind of church would my church be, if every member was just like me?”

 

 

“Being Like Jesus”

Philippians 2:5-8  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Paul encourages these Philippians believers to develop the same mind as Christ their savior. As followers of Jesus Christ, we would do well to think the same thoughts as Christ, have the same interests as Christ and develop his same focus. If we are going to be effective leaders in our home, church and community there are some lesson from Christ’s life found in this passage we will have to learn and develop. Here are 4 traits needed to Be Like Jesus:

1.  No Reputation: Although Jesus was equal to God and deserved the best royalty had to offer we see him born to peasants in a barn with the animals. His life was spent not in the lime-lights but in the shadows working as a carpenter until his public ministry at the age of thirty. If we are going to be like Jesus we have to put the fame of this world on the back burner. Too often Christians entangle themselves in the affairs of this life; fame, fortune, reputation, styles & trends and having the “latest and greatest and most up-to-datest” stuff the world has to offer. Christ concerned himself with his work not his popularity vote. Those who put Christ first will often be numbered last by the world’s standards.

2. A Servant: Jesus said in Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Jesus understood he had a job to do and he did it faithfully. The word “minister” Jesus used to describe himself here is the Greek word diakoneō meaning to be an attendant, to wait on tables. It is the same New Testament word for deacon. Jesus was a servant leader; His effectiveness came by leading from the front by example and not by yelling orders from the back. Get your hands into the work and people will respect your labor & servant heart.

3. Humbled Himself: A leader must be humble. No one wants to follow a proud, arrogant, self exalting person. Although Christ was use to wearing the royal robes of heaven, walking on the finest golden streets and lived everyday of eternity with angels praising his precious name; he humbled himself to put on the coarse linens of poverty, bruise his holy feet on the rocks of the middle eastern desert and endured the mocking of an unappreciative human race. Always remember, when you suffer criticism, ridicule and just plain ungrateful people, Christ too has endured this all for you. Be strong, keep marching.

4. Became Obedient: What good is a soldier who will not take orders, a Quarterback that refuses to learn the plays or hired help that insists on doing it their way. This is just as absurd as a Christian (a name that means “little Christ”) that will not obey his Lord. In his life & ministry, Christ preformed all that God demanded; therefore, you and I can enjoy his eternal salvation and rest. If we are going to be effective in ministry and in life in general we must understand that we are not our own but we are bought with a price. We belong to Christ. Trust and obey for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

If you will follow these four character traits found in the life of Jesus Christ, you will be well on your way to having a productive ministry, a solid home and a joyful Christian life. Pray today, and ask God to help produce these characteristic in your life. Be willing to yield yourself to the leadership of His Holy Spirit that will produce these traits in you. Pray daily that the Holy Spirit waters and cultivates these traits and gives you the power from on high to carry them out. You will never have power in your flesh to achieve these traits on your own but it is Christ in you, the hope of Glory that produces them in you.

 

For Husbands & Wives

Ephesians 5:22 & 25  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

I believe this is the foundational text for the husband and wife relationship and the fertile soil needed to produce the fruit of a happy and enduring home. Here we see the key thought that every wife and husband needs to wake up to every morning and walk with every day.

The first of these two thoughts is to the wife; verse 22 tells wives to reverence their husbands “as unto the Lord” or respect your husband in the same manner as you would Christ.  Simply put, Ladies treat your husband as you would treat Christ if he was in your home. Without argue, every Christian would agree that the church is the bride of Christ and therefore we (the church) are subject to his authority and should live our lives to please him. The church follows Christ’s lead, we build on his design, and strive to carry out his plan; in the same way the wife builds on the foundation laid by the husband. The responsibilities of the homes leadership are on the husband, fly or fail; it is the husband’s responsibility. Ladies, every thought, action, word and deed toward your husband should be covered in this thought; “I am about to do this or say this to Christ.” Keeping this in mind will certainly alter our behavior.

The second thought here is to the husband; verse 25 tells the men to love and treat their wife “as Christ loves the church” or in the same manner that Christ loves his children. Husbands should love their wives with a love that is equal to Christ’s love. Think for a moment about how Christ loves you. His love is sacrificial, unending, providing, compassionate & tender, thoughtful and generous. Christ’s love is so great that a world of dictionaries could not provide enough words to do it proper justice. Men, you are to love your wife in such a way that she feels as if it is Christ himself loving her. Keep this in mind the next time you talk to her or commence to criticize her; ask yourself “Is this how Christ would love me at this moment?” Your love to your wife should make her love Christ more, your love should deepen her walk with Christ, most importantly, your love should model Christ’s love for his bride, the Church; a love that provided the Cross of Calvary.

Solomon talks about an incredibly strong love that could not be extinguished by waters or floods, he said; “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it…Song of Solomon 8:7”  No doubt this is what everyone looks for in a relationship, but this kind of love will not happen on accident, it is the product of intent. If you follow God’s plan for your life, this love will not be far away.

Here are some things husbands and wives can do to enhance their relationship:

  1. Pray daily for your spouse by name and for their individual spiritual needs.
  2. Seek daily to encourage your spouse in their weak areas.
  3. Never push “The Button” that you know will cause problems. Avoid that area at all cost; realizing that everyone has pet peeves, be sensitive and accommodate your spouse.
  4. When tensions get high, someone needs to be the spiritual one and refuse to say those hurtful words.
  5. Never argue or belittle one another in front of children or others. This only intensifies the hurt and prolongs the healing process.
  6. Encourage one another and show love by writing notes, emails and text messages to each other on a regular basis.
  7. Listen to your spouse when they speak. Don’t just hear their words, planning your next statement; but take into thought the message of their heart they are communicating to you.
  8. Complement each other often. Focusing on your spouse’s positive traits will cause you to see less of their negative traits.
  9. Be sensitive to the needs of your spouse. Each day brings new stresses and obstacles, be helpful in these times and avoid an argument later.
  10.  Give your spouse gifts that say I love you. These do not have to be expensive or store bought, just thoughtful and in love.
 

I Love My Church

 Psalms 122:1 <A Song of degrees of David.> I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

There are many people that get excited about their “clubs” and “groups” some of them are bad and some of them may be good. But I believe there is no other organization more important than the local New Testament Church that Jesus Christ gave his life’s blood to purchase. If Christians will get excited about their church then so will their family, neighbors and friends.

Here are 10 simple things you can do right now to show your love for your local church:

 

  1. Pray for your church: there is no substitute for the power of God that comes through prayer.
  2. Be active in your church: be involved in the ministries of your church, this may mean joining the church so you can do more. Be a soul-winner, volunteer, helper ect…
  3. Financially support your local church: your 10% Tithe and any special offerings your church is receiving should go to your local church first, not another ministry. First support your local church, then give elsewhere.
  4. Faithfull attend your church: support all services, programs and ministry events of your church.
  5. Support the Pastor: God gives the pastor the vision and direction for His (God’s) church. Get behind him with your support and watch God bless your church.
  6. Brag on your church: you should love and promote your church more than any other church. Use social network sites, email and word of mouth to get the word out about what is going on at your church. If something goes wrong at your church (which it will at some point) pray for your church and don’t publicize the faults.
  7. Live a holy life: when you live a life above reproach it give your church a good reputation…counter wise, living life for the flesh will destroy the reputation of your church and everyone in it. Living clean will keep sin & problems out of your church.
  8. Support the standards of your church: every church sets standards to achieve a certain goal in the ministry. Don’t complain about the rules; support them so the work can be blessed. If you dont understand something, go to your pastor and kindly ask him to explain. This will prevent any further problems.
  9. Love the people of your church: stay close to your church family, hurt when they hurt, cry when they cry and laugh when they laugh. Write cards, emails and make calls to people when they miss church or appear to be down. Interact with your church family.
  10. Keep your heart & mind on your church: think of your church even when you are not there. Plan your personal and family activities around your church calendar. Try not to miss too much church. This careful planning shows a sense of spiritual maturity.

* Keep these few things in mind as they will help you in your Christian walk and also help build the ministry of your local church. God put your local church in the town it’s in for a reason. Christ died for his church desire his church to make a difference; when you are a part in making HIS church a success, He will greatly bless your life. These are not the only things you can do to help your church, they are only a small suggestive list to get you started. Pray and ask God to show you more things that will help you be a blessing to your local church and pastor.

 
 

Loyalty & Commitment

Follow the link below to get an amazing story of loyalty & commitment from a dog to a human. I also commend this brave SEAL for paying the ultimate price for my freedom. Thanks to all armed forces! It does make you think though as a Christian; If a man can be this loyal to his country and a dog can be this loyal to a human, why cant man be this loyal to God?

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/08/25/fallen-navy-seals-dog-refuses-to-leave-master%E2%80%99s-side-at-funeral/

 

Trying Circumstances Reveal our True Colors

Acts 28:3  And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

Proverbs 24:10  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

It wasn’t until Paul threw the bundle of stick into the fire that the deadly serpent showed himself. Have you ever noticed that when some people go through troubles, trials, conflicting circumstances…that they act differently. Why is that? It is because what really lye’s on the inside of people doesn’t always come out until they are provoked to make an immediate decision. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34  “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Jesus said whatever is on the inside will eventually come to the outside.

I have seen people that seemed to be the nicest and most godly people that I had ever met, go for years and never saw a bad side to them. But out of the blue a conflict arose with another person, or a trouble came into their life and the “serpent came out of the fire!” What was it, did they just have a bad day; were they caught of guard? The answer is, their true character was never tested up until that point and that specific trial revealed that they were not as strong as they appeared. Or as Proverbs 24:10 said, the reason they fainted in the day of adversity was because their strength was small to begin with. It’s not until you put the tea bag in hot water that the contents come out, so it is with our lives. When you put a person in “hot water” their true content is revealed.

Here are 4 lessons we all can learn from this:

  1. The person we truly are will come out at some point: If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh; meaning, the more we walk with God and obey his word, when we do have to make an immediate decision it will be made with the leadership of God and not by our sinful flesh. You know your faults and failures better than anyone else, if you continue to hide those issues and refuse to deal with them; you will eventually hurting yourself and others. Walk daily with God, this way the real you can be real Christ-like.
  2. Trials reveal our true character: It would appear easy for Daniel to pray and stand for God like he did when the weather was fair and times were good, but when his life was threatened with the Den of Lions and the situation went from bad to worse, his trial revealed his true character as one dedicated Christian. Look at trials when they come, and ask yourself am I the Christian everyone else thinks I am or that I claim to be?
  3. Use trials to move closer to God: Remember Peter in Matthew 26:74-75 after he denied Jesus he “went out and wept bitterly” He was confronted with a situation that tested his inner character and he failed. Like Peter, we all fail at some point, but this same Peter after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit, he preached and 3000 souls were saved. Don’t let trials make you bitter, let them make you better.
  4. Help those that are weak in faith: Galatians 6:1-2  “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  2  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”  God’s word tells us not to judge others in their faults & weaknesses but to help them. Do not shoot the wounded in the Army of the LORD but rather come along side of them as you would want them to do to you and help them make it home. This attitude “fulfills the law of Christ” and captures the true essence of Christianity. Make sure your true colors are the right colors.
 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Devotional Reading

 

“The Greatest Thing You Could Hope For”

Philippians 1:20  According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

Paul’s greatest hope and concern in his life was that Christ would be magnified (to make big) in his body. Paul was willing to have Christ magnified in his body even if it meant him dying to glorify God; his only concern was living a life that promoted, exalted and made Christ BIG in the eyes of others. What is the main concern of your life? What is it that you wake up in the morning thinking “I have to do this”? I don’t believe we can reach maximum potential until we answer this question concerning our priorities.

 As I look at this passage I see several things that would help Paul achieve his goal of making Christ BIG in his life: 

  1. Paul Set Expectations for His Self: so often we cater to our slothful humanity and never push ourselves to achieve goals. Mediocrity and Status Quo become the norm in our lives. We do everything in our power to stay within our comfort zone. However, Paul expected to magnify Christ, and he achieved this through his disciplined lifestyle. Magnifying Christ was something that he did on purpose by setting expectations for his life. Set goals on a regular basis, that, when they are reached, others will see a BIG picture of Christ in your life. 
  2. Paul Determined to Never Be Ashamed of Christ: how often do we miss the opportunity to point others to Christ because we were ashamed? We felt out of place, even embarrassed to mention our church, faith or savior. Paul made up his mind that he would boldly take every opportunity offered to him to make much of Christ. If you are going to be a Christian, then be a Christian wherever you are. Look for opportunities to pass out a gospel tract or mention the good things of God; live a holy life in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Be bold for Christ. You will be amazed at the number of people that are ready & waiting to hear what you have to say. 
  3. Paul Lived a Consistent Lifestyle: Paul says he would use boldness “as always” What does “as always” mean? It means, like he has done in the past and does on a regular basis. It is hard to magnify God when one week we go to church and the next week we stay home for whatever reason. It’s hard to bring glory to God on your job when one day you’re reading your Bible at break and the next day you’re using ungodly words toward a co-worker that wronged you. It is hard to make Christ BIG in your life when one week you’re praying, trusting God and reading your Bible and the next week you hardly pick up the book and talk to God. Paul’s consistency guaranteed that he would make an impact for Christ. Determine now, to live a consistent Christian life day in and day out. 
  4. Paul was Totally Committed to His Goal:Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” Paul said that he would magnify Christ no matter the cost. God is looking for people who are sold out lock, stock and barrel for his cause. It’s hard to magnify Christ if our heart isn’t in it. How far are you willing to go for Christ? How precious is his dear cause to you? What if Gods work would cost you time, money, personal ambition, your health, your comfort, a vacation spot, ect…would God be worth it then? We need to make up our minds to march out of our comfort zones and into the work of our dear Savior. The soldier that makes the biggest difference in the battle is the one who is willing to die for the cause. May we die to ourselves and this world and seek earnestly to magnify Christ in our lives. Let the worries of this world in the hands of Christ…just work faithfully!

If we will apply these Life Principles of Paul, to our life, then we will live a more happy and productive Christian life. Not to mention, our family will be blessed, and our church along with the cause of Christ will flourish.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Devotional Reading

 
 
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