Tag Archives: Love

Time And Growth

Time And Growth

Recently I read about an incident that occurred back in 2004.  A fight broke out among the residents of a nursing home in their dining hall.  One man was playing with the lettuce in the serving line with his bare hands.  From that a fight ensued.  A 62-year-old and an 86-year-old started to trade “punches.”  Then a 79-year-old was bitten in the arm.  The mother of the 62-year-old man was cut in the arm and a 92-year-old man was shoved to the floor as other residents ran away from the dining hall.

The point of sharing this story is that time and age does not ensure a person grows “out of” anger issues.  We cannot hope that one day the wrath of a person is appeased because he or she becomes a certain age.  The only way to grow out of any sin – is to grow more like Jesus.  What we do in and with our time, is more important than how much time has expired.

Ephesians 4 clearly teaches how to replace the sin with righteousness and goodness.  God can help you grow in these areas!

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Please observe the first sin listed: Bitterness.  Wrath, anger, clamour (outcry of grief), evil speaking (vile and blaspheme), and malice (badness) are all a result of the first sin: Bitterness.

Bitterness leads to faulty vision, angry thinking, and heated words.  Time does not heal bitterness.  Jesus alone can heal bitterness.

A life submitted to God will bring the hurts, pains, resentments, and seeds of bitterness to God and let God take care of them.  When we hold onto our “rights,” our pride, and our bitter spirit, the bitterness sprouts up into a garden of deceit, pain, and turmoil that chokes out all the positive things God is doing in our lives.  Nurturing bitterness ensures a garden of sin and grief is cultivated in a person’s life.

Replace the bitterness with forgiveness.  Replace the anger and wrath with kindness. Replace the harsh words with tenderheartedness.

While some people seem to “mellow out” over time, it is not just because of the passing of days. Time alone is not enough to grow out of sin and to find healing from the control of sin.  Growing in Jesus and learning to follow his example of love, compassion, and forgiveness is the only way to see victory over the sin of bitterness and anger.  What we do with the time God gives to grow closer to Him is what really counts.

 

 

 

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The Bodies Were Still Warm

The Bodies Were Still Warm

Blame.  Who is to blame?  500+ people shot, nearly 60 dead. The worst shooting scene in American history.  The dead bodies of the concert goers were still warm when people began to play the “blame game.”

Politicians began to politicize.  The Media began its narrating and spinning. Conspiracy theorist started to make their guesses.

Some blamed Isis.  Others blamed the US Constitution and the Second Amendment.  Still others even went so far as to blame Christians.   Other ideas from “white males” to the President, drugs, and even money were brought up.

What was the shooters motive?  Was there only one shooter?  Is there more to the story? How long did it take to plan for this?  Early news reports are just that – early.

Some commenting on this event are so violent (in their mind) that they even suggested that “white colored, country music fans” deserved to be killed because they were most likely Republican!

Vilifying one another, casting blame, and trying to legislate morality does not actually address the deeper issue here.

Why do bad things like this happen?

Sin is the cause of all heartache, pain, loss, suffering, and death.  Sinful thinking leads to sinful deeds.  Theologians call this “Origional Sin.” That is the problem. All. Problems. Stem. From. Sin.

Proverbs 23:7 teaches: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”  What is in the heart of man is what eventual comes out.

Adam and Even introduced sin into this world.  Mankind is to blame for our own sin.  God is not the originator of sin.  He allows mankind to make choices.  Adam chose rebellion and disobedience. He chose sin.  We have had to live with the consequences since then.

While you may never take another persons’ physical life, Jesus taught that hating people is the same as murdering them.  Read the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew chapters 5-7.  Try, with God’s help, to live that way.

How did we get here?  How is it that new records of evil and atrocities are being recorded in our lifetimes?   Where we live?  How?

Romans 1:21 tells us: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

Instead of valuing God, we value money.  Instead of valuing truth, we value what is convenient.  Instead of loving our neighbor, we are loving ourselves… to death.

Examine your heart.  Are you living in spiritual darkness?  Those who commit such acts have been living in darkness for some time.  Come to the light today.  Believe in Jesus.  Become a Christian and then enjoy a daily relationship with Him.  God is love!  He wants us to love one another.

No matter if we ever find the motivation, or if accomplices are ever uncovered, we can know that our fallen sinful nature is blame.

As a whole, these United States are no longer submitting and yielding to Jesus, the author of love and peace.  As a result, we are divided.  People are being unkind to one another. And sadly, more tragedies will unfold.

Pray. Ask the Lord to help us to turn back to Jesus.  Turn to your neighbor with love and kindness. And look for ways to show kindness to your fellow man.

If you have not yet believed in the Gospel, please go to the “How to go to Heaven” section on this site to learn how to be forgiven of your sins and be saved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Politics Do Not Matter

The Politics Do Not Matter

Kneeling during the Anthem, drinking Gatorade in the locker room during the unfurling of the flag, and protesting on team time is a growing trend among many American athletes today.

When it comes to the interaction of the citizen and the government leaders of a country, respect must be the underlying principle.  As our country becomes increasingly sinful, some have suggested that the Constitution is out of date or is no longer useful.  Quite the contrary; the Constitution is not broken, the people are.  Our nation, like every other nation in history is following a path to destruction because we have, as a whole, denied the truth.  Human nature is full of sin, rebellion, and selfishness.  The main reason things are the way they are is because we are… people.  Whenever a group of people no longer fear God, read the Bible, or have respect for Biblical values, there will be an increase in troubles.

Back to the flag, kneeling, and protesting on team (company) time.  The Bible says that Christians are to respect the government and governmental leaders.  Subjection, while unnatural to a man full of pride, should be the goal of the Christian filled with the Spirit of God.

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians about their relationships towards their government:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Romans 13:1-4

It is apparent that the Lord wants to save the lost leaders from their sin just as much as He saved the Christian from his sins.  The Lord can even use the believers response and attitude of respect to challenge, encourage, and convict a leader of his need for Jesus.

Our respecting of leaders is demanded and has nothing to do with policy.  Our submission has nothing to do with policies or political party.  Our attitude towards leaders is not to be impacted by the leader’s personality, brashness, or decisions.

Do you know the cultural and societal insanities that were being projected upon the people when Paul wrote to the Roman Christians?

  • Criminals were many times tortured to death in the coliseum.
  • Christians were fed to the lions.
  • Some Christians were burned alive for their faith.
  • The shedding of blood was a popular sport that people would flock to see in the coliseum.
  • Some Roman Emperors even demanded people to worship them as a deity.

No matter how bad some suggest living in America is – we are still living in the most just, least prejudiced, and most advantageous (to personal success) country in the world.  We still have a very relaxed legal system compared to most other countries today.  It is even harder for an American to enter and try to live in other countries of the world.  Proof of work and a verification that you are not taking jobs away from another countries citizen is a general requirement.  Things are relatively easy in America.

Those who complain about poverty are probably more-wealthy than most people in many places of the world.

Work ethic, respect for others, personal discipline, and a peaceful existence lends itself to a more productive life than protesting, walking around streets late at night, inciting riots, and sitting around complaining on the internet.

I encourage you to pray for our leaders. Respect those the Lord has placed over us.  Participate in government with a good attitude.  Work at loving your neighbor.

The political party nor the particular person does not diminish the Lord’s command to be subject to and show honor to our leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Godly Mothers Care

A Godly Mothers Care

Thank the Lord for every mother who has fulfilled her God-ordained role to nurture, cherish, and guide her children.  Mothers have the greatest influence on the next generation and an underestimated impact on society as a whole.  One person accurately said: “The hand who rocks the cradle rules the world.”  Mothers have such an important part in the direction and development of the world because of their commitment and sacrifices they make for their children.

Perhaps an unusual reference to cite for Mother’s Day, but please note Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

Why would a child be left to himself?  Perhaps “babysat” by Disney or a TV program?  Perhaps dropped off on the lap of other people for convenience reasons?  Perhaps not much discipline due to lack of involvement?  Two people can be in the same house or even the same room and not have interaction. It is a tragedy. This can potentially cause shame later in the life of a mother.

Reading this verse teaches me that time and attention are two motherly needs every small child has.  Every mother would do well to include her child in her life.

“From the ages of 1-4 a child will learn more than they will learn for the rest of their life.”  That is an amazing statement that I heard at an educator’s conference years ago.  Children under 4 learn several key factors for life including: coping skills, how to react or respond, obedience, consequences, discipline, value, purpose, peace, contentment, care, tone of voice, attitude, friendliness, appropriateness, emotional control, and how to share, care, and demonstrate true love.  Much more could be listed.  The point is – the disposition, deportment, and direction of a life is mostly aligned in the youngest years of the human life.

What mom does with those years are of utmost importance.

Here are several ways Godly mothers impact the most formidable years of a young life, from the perspective of talking to a person, once a child and now a grown adult.

Notice Mom’s Care:

  • Mom carried you in her body to delivery.
  • As an infant she nursed you, feeding you many times in the day and night.
  • Mom changed your diaper, changed your diaper, and changed it again.  Every day and night.
  • Mom cared for you, running you to the doctor, checking your temperature, and making sure that you had the finest food she could get.
  • At age 2 your crawling became a stand (against chairs and tables) and then the first few steps came.
  • Mom cheered you on as you began to run around the house.  Then came climbing.  Anything that could be touched became a joyful obstacle course for climbing.

It is funny that after cheering our toddlers on to stand, walk, and run, that as they get older, we say: “sit down!” or “stop running!”

  • She sang songs about Jesus and lullabies that encouraged sleep as she cuddled up with you.
  • She read books and Bible stories to you, praying all the time for you to love Jesus.
  • From ages 1- 4 she did everything with you like walking the mall, and shopping for clothes (because much of her clothes were not fitting right after you came along.)
  • When mom was sick, she took you with her to her doctor visits.
  • She showed you how to shop for food at the grocery store, rolling you up and down each aisle as people commented on how “cute” you were.
  • She told you about her “secret” plans to surprise daddy with a birthday gift or a party.
  • She included you in every car ride, carefully buckling you in and making sure you were safe and comfortable.
  • Mom took you to the park to run and play.
  • She bundled you up in the winter, and made sure you stayed cool in the hot summer.
  • She transported you to church where she learned about God, sang to the Lord, and grew in her Christian life and motherly calling.  You enjoyed the nursery and learned how to trust God’s people by your mom’s example.
  • As she cleaned, you learned about vacuuming, dusting,  and how “Everything has it’s place.”  She even let you let you fold the wash rags while she folded laundry to make you feel important.
  • When mom cooked, you were right there watching and learning about food preparation.  She even let you help “stir stuff up!”
  • From ages 1 to 4, mom was with you almost every moment of every day.  Or better said – you were with mom.

Before Kindergarten you were with mom nearly 24/7.  And it was good.  She had her moments of being tired and discouraged.  She joyfully gave up sleep, money, entertainment, and made other sacrifices to invest everything she could in seeing you grow, develop, and become a person who could find and fulfill the will of God in life.  She included you in every part of her life.  No mother who has invested that much time and effort into a child has regretted it.  While there were moments of struggle, she would do it again.  The time and attention shared was worth it.

The developmental years of ages 1-4 are the most critical to our emotional, relational, and spiritual development.

  • At age 4 or 5 she sent you off to Kindergarten. It was more hard for her, but your thirst to learn academics needed to be met.  You were ready for Kindergarten.  Mom had been reading to you, training you by living life with you, and all those hours and days with mom paid off as you already knew how to interact with people, respect authority, and carry yourself with a good disposition.
  • Each year mom was there.  She helped you adjust to relationship issues, grow up emotionally, physical, relationally, and spiritually. The pains of childhood were lessened because of mom.

By the Way:  If your mother passed into eternity before you reached adulthood, thank the Lord for the time that you did have with her.  Be encouraged in the motherly figures that God placed in your life to influence you.  God had a plan, even if you do not yet understand.  This thought should motivate us to cherish each moment we have with our loved ones today.

We could list so much more, from teenage to college years and beyond.  You can take the idea and run with it for yourself.  The point is – a Godly mother shows consistent care for her children.  She invests time and attention. Especially in the most innocent and precious years of life.   A Godly mother’s care really is – her time and her attention.

So, Mom – thank you for not leaving me alone.  The time spent, the sacrifices made, and the loving care means the world to me.  A Godly mother does not leave her child on his own.  She takes care of those early years so the child will have a lifetime of success in loving Jesus.

 

 

 

 

Be Like Zach

Be Like Zach

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Remember the days when people would say: “Be like Mike.”  On the basketball court, winning and work ethic could be found in Michael Jordan.  Kids would wear his shoes, shoot the ball like him, dress like him, and even walk like him.  I still like to see the shoulder shrug a player emulates on the basketball court after a made shot.

There is a man in the Bible named Zacchaeus, or Zach that can be a help to us today.  With many people searching for meaning and purpose, we can learn from his story the reality we are living in.

Zaccheus was loaded.  He had a large house.  He had the best the day in age he lived had to offer.  He was one of the richest people in his hometown.  His wealth was gotten through hard work, deceit, and a driven personality.

Throughout his whole life, he set out to prove his worth.  Being a man short in stature, he probably felt that if he became a big man in material things, then people would see him as a big man.

No- one likes to be the kid picked on because of size, weight, height, ability, smarts, or lack of athleticism.  Zaccheus was that boy who became an “overachiever” to try to make up for his being shorter than most of the other boys.  For him, he thought, becoming rich was the thing that could help him most.

Zaccheus lived in a place called Jericho.  Hundreds of years before, Jericho was a Canaanite stronghold.  If you read Joshua Chapter 6 you will discover how the Lord knocked the seemingly impenetrable walls down for His people to go in to possess their Promised Land.  During the time of Christ, the city of Jericho was built a short distance away from those ruins of Joshua’s day.

Zaccheus is a big man in Jericho.  He is known to be ruthless, rich, and even as a traitor.  “Publicans” in the Bible is not short for a political party – it is term for the Tax Collectors from the Roman Empire.  Most of the Jewish people saw Zaccheus as a traitor for he worked for the Roman government who controlled Israel.  In addition, the tax collectors were notorious for overcharging the tax rate.  For example, if 80 denari was due, they would charge 100 and keep the rest for themselves.  People did not like the tax collectors because of this. Zach was symbolic of the men who got rich off the backs of their own countrymen.

One day, a Person Who had a large following of people passed through Jericho.  Zaccheus was one to “keep his ears to the ground.”  As the “Chief” publican, he had many people working for him and he enjoyed hearing news of people’s successes so he would know when to increase their taxes.  It was Jesus who was passing through the city, teaching and helping people.

Zaccheus had a big problem however.  Like the Bible teaches, “worry” cannot add to our stature, or make us taller or healthier, riches cannot buy inches or good health either (Matthew 6:27).  Zach could not see.  He was too short and the large crowd was too tall.

Zach runs ahead in the direction he sees Jesus walking.  He climbs up a sycamore tree and peers down to Jesus as He walks in his direction.  Jesus looks up and tells Zaccheus to “Come down.”  Jesus then says he wants to “abide” or spend some time at Zaccheus’s house.

His house was probably one of the larger, nicer houses in Jericho.  The people however were upset that Jesus would sit down to eat dinner and spend some time in the house of a “sinner.”

The truth is – all humans are sinners – not just cheats and thiefs.  Romans 3:23 informs: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 continues, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  We need the gift of eternal life.

As Jesus talks with Zach, he explains the purpose of His mission.  Jesus lets everyone know the purpose for his trip to Earth and His reason for coming into this world.  “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus came to earth to find people who were “lost” in their sin.  Zaccheus was rich and powerful, but he was spiritually lost.  There are others who are religious and educated, but lost.  There are others still who are poor or not healthy, and are lost too.

The human condition is a “lost” condition without Jesus.  The first and greatest missionary was Jesus.  He came to earth on a mission of mercy, love and grace.

  • Mercy so we do not get what we deserve – Hell.
  • Grace so we can get what we do not deserve – Heaven.
  • And Love because He values and cherishes us more than new could ever fully understand. Love is a choice. Romans 5:8 teaches, “But God commendeth (proved) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Our value as humans does not come from financial status, our last names, the location we live, the job or title we hold, or the abilities we have acquired.  Our value and worth comes from God.  God loves us.  He loves you!  God created you.  He made you and has given you life and opportunity.  Don’t be like Zach in trying to find value in all the wrong places.  Be like Zach when he invited Jesus into his heart and life.

Zaccheus was a changed man.  Jesus said “This day is salvation come to this house.”  When a person is “born again” he has a new life in Christ things are different than before. Love, purpose, and priorities all shift to more meaningful things. Zach paid back 4 times over the money he had stolen.  He started to conduct his life and work in a responsible, loving way. He had eternal life and he now knew that his value was found in God and his value was from God, not his money, stature, house, location, or the job he held.

Three truths to take away:

  1. Know your value comes from God – not your circumstances.
  2. Embrace Jesus, the only Way to Heaven. Trust His work on the Cross and believe in His resurrection.
  3. Serve in the ministry. Missions work and Gospel work is the work of the Christian.  Tell someone about Jesus.  Participate in your church missions program.  Pray for missionaries to go – then help them get there following the footsteps of Jesus.

 

 

 

The Gift of God (Part 2)

The Gift of God (Part 2)

‘One man in a church was boasting to his friend, “I could give $1,000.00 towards the building and not even feel it.”

His friend replied, “Then give two or three thousand and feel it!”’

Everyone likes gifts.  Receiving gifts is a blessing but it even more blessed to be able and to actually give a gift to others.  Acts 20:35 tells us to: “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

One anonymous person aptly stated: “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.”  Good thought.  We should give our lives back to the Lord in service.

Let us continue our consideration of the “Gift of God.”  There are 3 more passages with this insightful phrase.  Each of these have more to do with using the gift that God has given to us – to serve and minister to other people.

  • God’s Gifts Cannot Be Bought: Acts 8:20 instructs, “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.”

Peter is in Jerusalem when the news from Samaria concerning the preaching of Philip and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is spoken about.  Phillip is casting out demons, healing people, and preaching the Gospel – all in the power of God.  Peter and John are sent by the Apostles in Jerusalem to confirm the testimony they were told, and together these two men walk to Samaria.

When Peter arrives, a man named Simon is determined to talk with Peter.  Simon formerly had been a sorcerer, but had renounced demonic powers and had turned to Jesus with faith in the Gospel.

By the Way:  There is much temptation for Christian families to be entertained by evil books and TV.  Harry Potter, and many similar books and movies that portray sorcerers and wizards as the hero should be avoid, discarded, and not allowed to influence our kids.  Demonism is real and is growing in popularity today.  It is now mainstream and even popular.  What kid would not like to have supernatural powers?  Satanic activity is real and we must guard our homes in active ways lest our kids be led astray.

Well, this man Simon, had demonic power before, and now that he was a believer in Jesus he realized that the prestige and power he once had was gone.  I do not believe he was regretting turning to Jesus.  He was however coveting what he saw in Peter.

Part of Peters purpose for this journey was to see how the Holy Spirit of God was working in Samaria.  When Peter laid hands on these people who had previously believed in Jesus for salvation – the Holy Spirit came upon them.  This study could diverge into the doctrine of the Pneumatology (Holy Spirit) but we will not now.   These saved people had not yet received the Holy Spirit.

Simon sees this tremendous moving of the Holy Spirit and he wanted the power to give the Holy Spirit to other people too!  He was still thinking in occultist terms.  Peter directly tells him that the Holy Spirit cannot be bought.

The Spirit of God is a gift that God gives to Christians when they are born of the Spirit, or born again.  The Gift of God cannot be bought.  While Simon wanted to serve others by giving them the Spirit, that is not the way it works.  The Holy Spirit of God worked through  Phillip and Peter and He can also work through you.  Our main problem is that we tend to think in humanistic terms.  We tend to try to live the Christian life and conduct the work of the ministry in the flesh or with our intellect.

Thank God for His Holy Spirit who will lead, guide, direct, and empower you to fulfill the will of God.

  • God’s Gift Should Be Cherished: 1 Corinthians 7:7 teaches, “For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.”

Most of us are not like the man in the following story: “Probably the only man in history who never saw a woman was Mihailo Tolotos, a monk who died in 1938 at the age of 82 in one of the monasteries atop Mount Athos, Greece. As his mother passed away when he was born, Mihailo was taken to Athos the next day and never once, throughout his life, left this monastic colony which has excluded all females, animals as well as humans, for more than 900 years.”  (Signs of the Times)

The context of 1 Corinthians 7 is marriage and family. Paul is teaching the Corinthian believers who lived in a sex-crazed, and immoral society how they should remain celibate if unmarried and how to remain pure through marriage.

While Peter was married, had a family, and a mother in law, Paul was never married.  Paul, the iconic missionary, had tremendous freedom to travel and be away from home for years at a time because he was not married.

As 1 Corinthians 7 develops we find that the gift of God that Paul is speaking of concerning personal marriage relationships differs from person to person.  Consider the following:

If a specific man is supposed to be married and it is God’s will that he has a family – then the wife God gives to him is a special gift from God.  In this case – marriage is a gift of God.

If a particular man is not to be married and it is God’s will that the man remain single – then singleness is a gift of God.

If a man marries and it is not God’s will, or he marries a person that the Lord says not to marry (according to clear Bible teaching) then becoming a husband would become a nightmare instead of a blessing.

By the Way: Living together before marriage is like unwrapping a gift before it has been given to you.  There are many spiritual and psychological reasons this is a harmful practice.  Perhaps that could be a post on another day.  Until you are married – the gifts included in the broader gift of marriage (sex, kids, family, accountability, leadership, and union) are not yours – yet.  Wait until the “I Do.” To unwrap your marriage gift.

Many people are living a nightmare in relationships because they marry outside the will of God, the Word of God, or do not accept the specific gift of God – the gift of marriage or the gift of singleness.  Whichever of these two gifts God gives to you – cherish it.  Both gifts are temporary in nature.  Embrace whichever one God has for you at this moment.

  • God’s Gift Should Be Remembered. 2 Timothy 1:6 encourages, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”

With each gift we receive of the Lord, we should be deliberate to remember, and be thankful for those gifts. Should we not consistently remind ourselves of all that God has given, we will forget.  Human nature is good at tucking blessings away into forgetfulness, and merely thinking on problems or things we do not have.

May God help us to frame our minds with consistent thinking of God’s gifts as Ephesians 1:3 tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

In 2 Timothy 1, Paul is reminding young pastor Timothy about how the Holy Spirit of God had called, equipped, and empowered Tim for the task of Christian service.  Timothy was a preacher, a pastor.  Does The Holy Spirit do the same in our lives?  The answer is yes.

Even if you are not “paid time” in the ministry, we are all to be “full-time” in the ministry.  Remember the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 8?  The Holy Spirit has gifted each believer with a specific “Spiritual Gifts.”  Do you know what your Spiritual Gift is?  There are 6 Spiritual Gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8.  We have a “Spiritual Gifts” test at our church office if you want to stop on sometimes to discover your specific gift.  Utilizing your gift will help you be more effective in Christian service.

When God’s people all prioritize faithful service much good is accomplished.   Our family enjoys flying kits on warm breezy days.  When a kite is flown into the air, the question could be asked: “Who Flew the Kite?”

“‘I did,” said the wind!

“I did,” said the paper!

“I did,” said the string!

“I did,” said the boy! But in reality they ALL flew the kite! If the wind had lulled, if the paper had torn, if the sticks had broken, if the tail had caught in the tree, or the boy had fallen, then the kite would have come down! EACH HAD A PART TO PLAY!

God has placed you in a strategic role! You are important to your church ministry. Just use your gift to the Glory of God and leave the results to Him.”  (Communicating Biblical Truths)

Be stirred up, excited, and focused on the good work that the Holy Spirit of God can do in your life.  There is much to complain about, and many problems that we could be pre-occupied with, but by God’s grace, you can remained stirred up and focused on the specific ministry and service God has for you.

Thank the Lord for each gift He has given.

 

 

 

 

The Gift of God (Part 1)

The Gift of God (Part 1)

What is the best gift you have ever been given?  Perhaps there are one or two very special gifts that someone has given to you.  We normally think of large monetary or material things.  Our family has been blessed to have received the gifts of a car and van on several occasions.  Thank the Lord for loving people who have cared for us with such helpful and generous gifts.  A real need was met with a gift.

What about gifts that are non-tangible?  A good name and reputation?  A good work ethic?  An education? A Christian upbringing?

Eight times in the Bible the phrase “Gift of God” is used.  Let’s exam these “gifts of God” and make a personal application to our life.  Here they are:

  • The Gift of Work: Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.”

One person wrote about Princess Anne and said: “She is getting married this Saturday…. Her new fiancée could be a real embarrassment to the royal family—Turns out he has a job and works for a living.”  Work is honorable!  Even in retirement, we can find work to do and be productive.

While not everyone can work or accomplish the same production, quality, or have the same skills as another person, everyone has some skill they can excel at.  Work and the ability to work is rewarding.  It is a gift from the Lord.  It could be work for a living, or work to help others, either way – we honor the Lord in our work.

Do the best work you can while you are able.  At the same time realize, once a day is over, we still need to rest, and prepare for worshipping the Lord in other spiritual ways.

Some people “play at their work and work at their play” while neglecting their worship.

  • The Gift of Wealth: Ecclesiastes 5:19 informs, “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”

Working hard and working smarter, not harder are both good qualities to have.  Again, the ability to work is a gift of God.

While finances and big wallets or bank accounts are not the goal of the Christian, a side benefit of the hard and smart worker is that he will gain in tangible ways.  Most people that have a job should be able to have money in the bank and live better than merely pay check to pay check.

Part of the reward of work is the power to but his own food, and buy his own portion, or place to live.  Other lessons could be learned then about proper stewardship.  When we apply Bible principled stewardship to the finances God has entrusted to us, we will have more than we need and accomplish more for the Gospel than we can even imagine.

Don’t be a miser with the money God gives you to manage.  Do you know what a miser is?  “A miser: one who experiences a dollar’s worth of frustration when he loses a dime.” Be sure that you do not love money, nor are pre-occupied with the things that money can buy.

  • The Gift of Water: John 4:10 relates, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

Jesus is answering the questions of the “Woman at the Well.”  Jesus revealed to her every sin she ever committed.  When this woman was seeking physical water, the Lord Jesus offered her spiritual water.

She was thirsty and Jesus was able to give to her something that no water, Gatorade, or other drink could ever satisfy: peace with God and the knowledge of forgiveness of sins.

Jesus is the “water of life.”   While many people try “Religion” and “good works” to gain salvation, Jesus offers salvation freely to all who will come unto Him.

You can repent of sin, ask for forgiveness, and receive the gift of eternal life that Jesus made possible when He shed His blood, died on the cross, and then rose to live again.

  • The Gift of Wages: Romans 6:23 teaches, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In the same vein as the “Gift of Water” The Lord gives eternal life – only through Jesus.  As humans, we earn a wage for our sinful actions – death.  Death is what we truly deserve.  Jesus however does not want us to die.  We will die physically, but more important than that is spiritual life and death.

Jesus rose again so we could live forever with God.  It takes being born again.  Jesus completed the work on the Cross.  He paid the wages of our sin.  HE had no wrong and no sin of His own.  He took my sin and paid the price – death with what I earned in wages.

When a person repents of sin and receives the gift of God (Salvation) then he trades his personal wages (death) with Jesus for eternal life.  It is an amazingly good deal for us – because we do not deserve life.

  • The Gift of Workmanship: Ephesians 2:8-10 speaks plainly and directly, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

The hand of God (grace) reaches to us and we take our hand (Faith) and place it in the hand of God.  Grace and faith are how a person is saved.  God’s grace is extended and we reach up in faith.   We cannot do enough god to earn maintain or keep our eternal salvation.  Salvation is a gift.  Good works, being baptized, and joining a church can be good things, but they are not good enough for salvation.  No human work could ever earn the person perfection so they could enter Heaven.  It is the work of God that He performed on the Cross.  By God’s grace, we accept through our own volition of faith to receive His gift of eternal life.  Have you been born again? Saved by Jesus?

When a person gives you a birthday gift- you reach out and take it.  The giver presents it to you and you can either accept the gift or say “no thank-you” to the giver of the gift.  The choice is all yours.

Once a person becomes a Christian (When they repent of sin and place faith in the Gospel) the Lord begins a new work in them.  They are now a “Christian” which means = “little Christ-like ones.”  We are to look more like Jesus.

Why does a Christian do good works if good works cannot save him?  Why should a believer in Jesus do Christian service and be a good person if it cannot gain eternal life?  The answer lies in verse 10.  We are God’s Workmanship.

The Lord has called all believers to “walk in good works.”  We do not work for our faith, but “we have a faith that works.”  The Bible, the Christian life, the Holy Spirit, and the church services we participate in all assist us in becoming more like Jesus.  Our thoughts, words, and actions begin to reflect His love, compassion, purpose, and effectiveness.

The following antidote from the life of Mark Twain can help: “A businessman well known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, ‘Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top.’

‘I have a better idea,’ replied Twain. ‘You could stay in Boston and keep them.’”

By God’s grace, live the Christian life to the glory of God so others will see Jesus in you and will then place their faith in Him for their salvation.

 

Lord willing, the next post will continue our study of the phrase “The Gift of God.”  Thank you for reading the pages on this site.  Please feel free to add a comment or tell others about it.