Monthly Archives: June, 2016

Pray for All People

We can never pray enough. Paul notes in in his letter to Timothy, that we need to be sure that we do not limit our prayers. We are “to pray for all people.” That is a great command. Pray for all people. This means we don’t just pray for your family and friends. We don’t just pray for our church family. We don’t only pray for those we want to lift up in prayer. We pray for all people.

Jesus tells us to pray for our enemies. This is something that can help us to be more like Christ. While praying for our enemies, we are interceding on their behalf. Doing this opens our heart for the Spirit to help us forgive and heal. The verse in the letter to Timothy doesn’t only ask that we pray for all people. The letter continues that we “give thanks for them.” We are to give thanks for all people. Is this something you feel like doing? Do you thank God for the person who drives you crazy?

Understand that we are asked to do these things because it helps us to grow more Christ like. Often we think the prayers we pour out to God are to change others. The truth is the prayers often are to change us. Today, pray for all people. Intercede on their behalf. Give thanks for them. Be ready for God to respond in a mighty way!

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” – 1 Timothy 2:1 [NLT]

Meaningless Speculations

In 1 Timothy, we read a warning against false teaching. Part of this warning is against false doctrines. It also mentions myths and endless genealogies. We are warned against the things as they take us away from the “stewardship of God’s work, which is by faith” (NIV). Paul makes it clear that the aim, the purpose is “love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith” (NLT).

Too often, we get caught up in endless discussions about things that pull us away from a true relationship with Jesus. The devil loves when we get ourselves distracted. While we are distracted, we are handicapped. While we are focused on things that aren’t really that important, we find ourselves missing the most important One.

Today, remember Who you are meant to fix your eyes upon. Do not let the endless discussions distract you from God’s purpose for your life. Do not let these meaningless things keep you from living a life of faith in God. You were made for more!

“Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.” – 1 Timothy 1:4 [NLT]

Made for More

Did you know you were made for more? Jesus said that we would do greater things than even He did during His earthly ministry. It’s true. Sadly, many of us never step into what God has prepared long ago. We allow our fears to dictate our steps. We make up excuses for not stepping out. We think that others have a ministry, but we don’t have our own ministry. For others, it simply is a matter of not being all in when it comes to walking with Jesus.

Each of us has a ministry. If you think you don’t have a ministry because your spouse is in ministry, that’s incorrect. You each have a ministry role. Each of you have important roles. If you don’t reach out in faith because you believe you are limited, realize that you have the Spirit of God living within you. That is the MOST POWERFUL FORCE in the world inside you! The Holy Spirit with equip you and empower you (Romans 15:13). Simply show up. You have an important ministry.

If you have a list of excuses as to why you don’t do something, consider the reason for the excuses. Are these excuses justified? Maybe you don’t show up to Bible study because you don’t feel like you know enough about the Bible. Guess where you should be then? Bible study. Maybe you don’t help out with the mission work because you feel unqualified. Who is qualified? No one is qualified by their own merits. God alone qualifies (2 Corinthians 3:5). Perhaps you don’t attend church because you feel unworthy. Everyone who attends church is unworthy. We all fall short (Romans 3:23). It is only because Jesus died on the Cross that we can approach God.

Today, remember you were made for more. Reach out for the more. Don’t stand for less. God is a big God and He has big plans. Embrace them.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12 [NIV]

 

Godly Grief

The word grief is not one that brings joy to us. Grief is a word we use when we are mourning a loss. But Paul notes in 2 Corinthians 7, that there are different types of grief —godly grief and worldly grief. In verse 10, it says that “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

Everyone grieves at some point in life. In this chapter, Paul writes about how he caused the people sorrow from a previous letter (see verse 8). He was not sorry for causing the sorrow though because he understood the importance of sorrow. The sorrow resulted in repentance, repentance resulted in salvation. This is godly grief, otherwise known as godly regret. This is when we come to know the truth – when our sin is revealed to us. We have the option to grieve the godly way, with repentance that leads to salvation through faith, or to grieve in the worldly way.

Paul is clear about the worldly grief. The worldly grief is filled with despair and remorse. The worldly grief produces death. This is when you are faced with the truth and you have a sorrow that does not lead to repentance. This is when something you do wrong (sin) backfires and the sorrow you feel is only because you have faced consequences or did not get the result you desired. You are not sorrowful because you went against God. You do not repent. You only are upset, you only feel grief, because you didn’t get away with your sin.

I pray when you are faced with the revelation of sin in your life, that you suffer from godly grief—a grief that produces repentance that results in salvation. This is a grief that brings joy! Joy in the salvation of the Lord!

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10 [ESV]

Walking Like Jesus

It is one thing to talk the talk. It is another thing to walk the walk. In 1 John 2, we read that the one who says that he abides in Jesus should walk the same way that Jesus walked. This means that if a person claims to remain in Jesus, to be doing life with Jesus, that person would walk in the same manner as Jesus. In doing so, the person would appear to mirror Jesus. One would look at the person and see Jesus.

Walking like Jesus requires us to be in the Word daily so we can glean from the Word how He walked. He spent time in the Word. It was written on His heart. Is it written on yours? Walking like Jesus means we are continually in prayer – that we continually are aware of the presence of God. Remember how Jesus left the group to pray? Do you take time to pray? Walking like Jesus means we love like He loves, forgive as He forgave, serve as He served.

Today, consider your steps. Are you walking like Jesus? Are you a person of compassion? Do you love with all you have? Do you have the heart of a servant? You can talk the talk, but a true disciple walks the walk.

“Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” – 1 John 2:6 [ESV]

Special Assignment

Each of us has a special assignment. We have each be given a life to lead “that the Lord has assigned.” Each of us has a different assignment, a different circumstance, a different condition. Wherever we are, whatever our current condition, it is unique. It is our very own special assignment.

In ministry and in life, we each have our special assignments. It is important to keep your eyes focused on these special assignments instead of looking at another person’s assignment. My Grandma always said to “keep your eyes on your own plate.” God created you for your assignment. You were never meant to try and fulfill the assignment of someone else. Don’t beat yourself up trying to be something you never were meant to be—there’s something perfect for you to live out friend!

To be content, it is necessary to embrace the life that has been assigned to you. Don’t misunderstand. This does not mean you are giving in or that you do not have free will. This does not mean you are settling. Embracing the life assigned to you is embracing the blessings of the Lord. The great I Am specifically designed you. He knows everything about you. He knows you better than you know you. You are unique. You are gifted. You have a special assignment. When you begin to live out that assignment, you will overflow with joy.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.” – 1 Corinthians 7:17 [ESV]

Running in Fear

My dog Max frightens at times. I often tell him he is a big baby despite his 85-pound Labrador body. When my little Shih-Tzu Marci has an episode due to tracheal collapse, Max runs upstairs to hide. He doesn’t like the sound. I’ll admit the sound is a bit disturbing.

The tracheal collapse is a known issue with the breed. It doesn’t happen often and it has not caused Marci any problems. Even so, Max is fearful of the noise and possibly the body language of his best friend. Perhaps, just like us humans, he’s fearful of the unknown.

The unknown can be scary. Truth be told, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. It is unknown. There are some possible things that likely will happen tomorrow. But we don’t know for sure. Even more frightening is when we are to walk out of our comfort zone. When God calls us out of the comfort area, the fear level rises. There’s no need to run. Tomorrow may be unknown, but our God is known and He is faithful. Put your trust in Him. He will see you through.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” – Psalm 56:3-4 [ESV]

Except Jesus Christ

I love the verse for today. Paul said he “decided to know nothing among (them) except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” That is all that He chose to speak about when He was with them. It was all about Jesus.

He notes in the first verse that when he approached the people, he didn’t bring with him some fancy words or some human wisdom. He spoke of Jesus. He admits in verse 3 that he was fearful. He was anxious. He understood the great responsibility. We too have a great responsibility.

Allow the Spirit to move through you as you share Him crucified. What a great demonstration of the Spirit’s power. As verse 5 notes, faith should rest alone on the power of God. Don’t speak of anyone else or you may lead someone to rest their faith on you. Sharing Jesus has nothing to do with big words, fancy speech, or some difficult to understand theology. We claim nothing except Jesus Christ. We share nothing except Jesus Christ. We point to no one except Jesus Christ.

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2 [ESV]

Idle Walkers

I love the term “walking in idleness.” The phrase sounds funny. If you are idle, you certainly are not walking. That requires action. This passage isn’t talking about physically walking though. This passage is focused on laziness. The Bible mentions laziness many times; each time laziness is mentioned in a negative light.

God has something for each of us to do in life. As part of one body, we each must move together in harmony, united as one for Christ. The focus is all about Jesus. The work is plentiful. Each of us a different deck of cards to bring to the table. If one or any of us are lazy, the body is not working properly. This doesn’t mean we cannot rest—this means our life isn’t complete rest.

This verse falls under the heading warning against irresponsibility. Laziness is certainly irresponsible. Think of the life God has given you—the time, talent, and treasures with which He blessed you. To not move is irresponsible. To not move, is to miss the opportunity to live for Jesus. To not move, is to allow life to pass you by without concern. Don’t be an idle walker. Walk with purpose. Walk in love. Walk for truth. Walk with Jesus.

“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:6 [ESV]

God Pleasers

We have a choice in life. We can live as a God pleaser or a people pleaser. This is difficult for some people. I know that as a child, I wanted nothing more than to please people. My daughter is somewhat of a people pleaser as well. It is great to want to please people. The issue is when you compromise pleasing God to please people.

Jesus Christ is grace and truth. We always must live with grace and truth always on our minds, with Jesus always in our heart. He is our focus. He is our priority. We cannot step around like we are walking on egg shells, and keep ourselves from speaking truth. We cannot disregard the spiritual immaturity of others, simply because it may offend someone to speak truth in love.

God has placed us right where we are at this very moment. There are people around us who need to experience God’s grace and His truth. Today, do not skate around the truth because you don’t want to ruffle any feathers. If you love someone, speak truth. Keeping the truth from a person because you want to please them results in a few problems. First, you are not pleasing God. Second, as you attempt to please this person, you deny them the truth. Perhaps, even enabling them. This is not love. Grace is an important thing—and a beautiful thing. However, there always must be balance. Honor God’s Truth.

“For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:4 [NLT]