Archive for October, 2011
“And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:13).
To face temptation places you in good company. The implications of being tempted are many. To be tempted means we have a choice as to how we will live our lives. It means I have a choice as to the kind of person I’m going to be. Being tempted affirms our potential and capacity to do great things for God; that Satan is seeking to distract you from the things that God has in store for you. Temptation sets various options before us; one being a way of escape. The choice is yours.
“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly” (Romans 12:6).
History is changed and changes occur when one person dares to ask, “What can someone like me do?”
The simple exercising of your gift/s accomplishes Kingdom purposes. When you dismiss your gift as insignificant and unimportant some ministry is left wanting in both the world and the church. Our gifts differ for there are different needs around us. You can do what I can’t, and I can do what you can’t. Together we can do what needs to be done.
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with joyful shouting; then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad” (Psalm 126: 2-3).
Laughter? Joyful? Glad? Can you believe it? They were actually enjoying their relationship with the Lord. An exhaustive concordance reveals that the word “joy” or “joyful” occurs nearly 200 times in scripture. It is one of the qualities associated with God’s people and their relationship with Him.
Jesus said, “I have come that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11).
Go ahead, smile; enjoy your faith.
“Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they ?'” (Luke 17: 15-17)
Who do you most resemble–the one who returned in humility and appreciation to offer thanks, or the nine who enjoyed the blessings given while forgetting the Giver of blessings? Gratitude is a rare commodity. Those who are genuinely appreciative view life differently. They are always on the lookout for opportunities to express thanks.
A disciplined life of offering thanks is therapeutic. It can transform a grumbling spirit into one of contentment and enables one to see the many mercies of God that would otherwise be overlooked.
Count your blessings, your blessers, and tell them how they have blessed you.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like
whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are
full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).
I have always sought to disarm the accusaton of all the hypocrisy in the
church by saying something like, “You’re right, the church is full of
hypocrites, but we always have room for one more.” The truth of the matter
is that some hypocrisy is to be found in each of our lives because none of
us have, yet, fully become what we are suppose to be and striving to be in
Don’t let a hypocrite stand between you and God. When you do the hypocrite
is closer to God than you.
“And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. And it came about when they were in the field that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (Genesis 4: 4-5, 8).
It’s not just Cain’s problem. Envy invites each of us to lament the inequities of life. It beckons you to a constant comparison of what others have to what you don’t: the sibling with the happy marriage; the co-worker whose salary is higher; the neighbor with bright, intelligent, socially well-adjusted kids; the friend with dark hair while yours is graying. Envy is what prompted Cain to kill Abel. And even if envy doesn’t go to this extreme it will murder your soul nonetheless.
“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Based upon the promises of scripture, we are confident that God hears and answers the prayers of his people. Then why are so many frustrated in their prayer life? Could it be that most people consider a prayer to be answered only when it is fulfilled as they have asked and desired? The promise is that every prayer will be answered. The seasoned believer recognizes that prayer is often answered in ways we never expected, and sometimes never wanted. Of this you can be confident.
“Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10).
The American dream, defined in terms of the accumulation of material things, has become for many the American nightmare–living beyond their means and the brink of financial ruin. The charade of material prosperity clouds a greater reality–spiritual depravity. There are basically two options regarding the handling of our finances–a reckless pursuit of our every want or the management of our resources as a Kingdom responsibility and a means of being a faithful witness.
“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life’” (John 4:13-14).
Though he spoke to multitudes, Jesus’ most significant work was done with individuals. Such is the nature and intention of the gospel in everyday life. You can do more for the Kingdom of God over a cup of coffee with a friend than any pastor could ever do from the pulpit. Take the Gospel with you today and make it personal.
“Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, ‘How is it that you being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?’ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans)” (John 4:9).
There is no worse reputation a church could have than that of being exclusive. Exclusive is such a biased and prejudicial term–exclusive clubs; exclusive clientele. Exclusive means someone is excluded; that someone isn’t welcome. If the church is ever guilty of becoming exclusive, let ours be a reputation of a church filled exclusively with sinners saved by grace; anxiously seeking to extend God’s grace to others.