The Best Advice a Friend Ever Gave Me.

Best advice

Some time back, a dear friend gave me some really good advice. She told me that it is not what you do that is important but what you be. In other words, it is not the doing that matters the most but how you BE. For example, be kind, forgiving, considerate, and compassionate, these are what really matters.

What Advice Does God’s Word Have for Us?

Therefore, I went looking into God’s Word as to how I am to be. I found several references in how I am to be and not to be. This really got me to thinking. What if we as believers thought more about the being rather than the doing, what a profound effect we would make in the world?

For instance, take Ephesians 4:32. We are to BE kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving as Christ forgave us. This alone could rock the society and it would draw others to Christ.

How does it make you feel when someone shows you kindness? You feel respected as a person, right? You matter!

What about tenderhearted or I like to think of it as compassion? We could all use a bit of compassion. Think how this might bring about a welcome change to those in your neighborhood and/or church when we show mercy and extend a helping hand.

Don’t forget about forgiveness! This is central to being a Christ follower. He forgave us while we were still sinners and He expects us to forgive others just the same. This is where true freedom lies because the unwillingness to forgive holds one captive.

Let’s not forget Colossians 3:15b. We are to BE thankful. Gratitude is a game changer. When I focus on God and give Him thanks for all the many blessings and for the trials that come my way, I am changed from the inside out. My countenance is brighter and my heart is full of joy.

How Do We Act on This Advice?

Now, this may sound easier said than done but we do not have to try this on our own. For this will not be possible. But through prayer and God’s Word, God will empower us through His Holy Spirit. This is a mystery, yet I know that with God all things are possible. I have experienced His help in my own life.

Just ask the Lord to help you BE kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. He is more than able to do far more than all we ask or think. This is just a glimpse at but a few of the ways are to BE.

Here is a few more scripture that you can read to find out more; Ephesians 5:1, 17-21; Philippians 2:1-7, 14-15; 4:6; 1 Peter 1:14-16; Romans 12:2; James 1:9.

Here is a related link: Put on the New Self

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The Word for the Year is JOY!

The Word for the Year is Joy!

The word JOY is found 242 times in the Bible including 57 times in the Psalms in the NIV. The word is defined as a noun to mean a state of happiness or felicity; expression of glad feeling. As a verb, it is to feel joy; be glad; rejoice.

What Comes to Mind When You Think of the Word Joy?

I can tell you what comes to my mind. The love of my family and making my niece giggle brings me great joy. My heart is glad because of renewed relationships. But this is all temporary. So what does the Bible say about lasting joy?

Well, there are quite a few things that the Bible says about joy. For instance, what gives joy to heart? The Word of the Lord does! It is radiant and gives light to the eyes. The precepts of the Lord are right and rejoicing to the heart. (Psalm19:8)

You will find Joy in God’s Presence!

And joy can be found in the presence of the LORD. When the world is troubling, one can turn to the LORD to rejoice and be glad. He will make known the path of life and fill you with great gladness in His presence. (Psalm 16:1; 21:6) Therefore, seek His presence and be filled to overflowing.

Those who take refuge in Him will find it!

Not only can it be found in His Presence but also when one takes refuge in Him and in the strength of the LORD. God will spread his protection over them that love His name that they may rejoice in Him. (Psalm 5:11) Thus, God is to be our refuge and strength in times of trouble.

Find Joy in the Proverbs.

There is much to be found about it in the Proverbs. Those who promote peace will find it (12:20). A wise son brings it to his father (15:20). One will find it when one gives an apt reply. (15:23). When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous (21:15). A man who loves wisdom brings it to his father (29:3). These are just a few. Therefore, seek to be wise and give a timely response.

New Testament Joy.

Furthermore, joy is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) and in James, we are to rejoice and be glad when we come into various trials (James 1:2). We are to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). The Kingdom of God is of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Hence, one can find great joy in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and in perseverance.

In conclusion, I say to you as the Apostle Paul said in Romans 15:32, May the God of hope fill you with all gladness and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (References)

Here are some related links: Joy Can Be Found in Serving Others

Count It All Joy

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David; A Man of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday comes but once a year, yet, we should make the giving of thanks to our God a daily occurrence. David is a perfect example for us to follow. Not only did he write many times in the Psalms but also sang a song of thanks to God in 1 Chronicle 16:8-36.

Why the Thanksgiving?

There are numerous reasons for the thanksgiving to our God. He created the heavens and the earth is the first reason. We are here because of His making it happen. We live and move and have our being because of Him.

In our thanks, we make known His wondrous deeds. It is in remembering that we are encouraged to keep on going and moving forward in life. When we forget, we fall into despair and let the current events way us down.

David had a lot to remind Israel of to be thankful to God. In his song, he reminds them of the great miracles that God had done. They were told to remember God’s covenant. The Lord is great and greatly to be praised is what David spoke to them. Read this song and see how David encouraged the people to tell, ascribe, and declare the great deeds God had done.

Most of all as believers, we are to give thanks to our God for sending us His son. Salvation in Jesus Christ is indeed worthy of thanksgiving. Without Him, we were facing eternal death and an eternity in hell.

What can you give thanks to God for on a daily basis?

How to Give Thanks.

In Psalm 26:7, David proclaimed his thanksgiving aloud and told of God’s wondrous deeds. So we, too, should proclaim God’s great deeds. In eight different Psalms, you can find David giving thanks.

Another way of giving thanks to God is one of sacrifice. It glorifies God when we give Him thanks, this way. So what does it mean to make a sacrifice of thanksgiving? I believe that it is giving Him thanks when we are facing trials and tribulations or even when we don’t feel so thankful. We are to give thanks in all situations.

In addition to this, we are to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. This would mean coming to church with thanks and praise on our lips and in our hearts. We can add music to our giving of thanks unto the Lord as David did.

How might you find a new way to give thanks to God? Relate link: Tell of the Goodness of the Lord.

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Sweet as Honey is God’s Word!

Sweet as honey.

Sweet as Honey & Other Word Pictures of God’s Word

I am sure that you are familiar with the phrase sweet as honey but have you heard it in reference to God’s Word? What other word pictures do we find in the Bible when it comes to God’s Word?

Sweet as Honey!

There are two places in God’s Word that describe His Words as sweet as honey. First is in Ezekiel 3:3 when the prophet was instructed to eat a scroll. He was told that it would fill his stomach. Ezekiel ate the scroll and he said that it was sweet as honey. He then was told to go to the house of Israel and speak the Words that God had given him.Sweet as Honey

Second place is in Revelation 10:9-10. The apostle John was told to eat a scroll much like Ezekiel. The Angel told him that it would be bitter on his stomach but in his mouth, it would be sweet as honey. John ate and it was as he had been told. He was told to prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.

Sharper than any Two-edged Sword!

God’s Word is described as living and active in Hebrews 4:12. It is not static nor is it asleep. His Word has the power to change lives. It is also sharper than any two-edged sword. The verse goes on to say that His Word will pierce and divide the soul and spirit as well as discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. This is some serious surgery of the heart, soul, spirit, and mind. It will get down to the matter of the heart.

Lamp/Light

One of the descriptors that are often used for God’s Word is a light or lamp. We find this in Psalm 119 verses 105 and 13Sweet as Honey0. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a lamp unto my path. Thus His Word will give us light for direction and a lamp to light our path for guidance. When we are troubled or confused all we need to do is look to His Word for guidance.

In addition to these Proverbs 6:23 the commandment is a lamp and a teaching light. 2 Peter 1:19-20 the prophetic word is as a lamp shining in a dark place and no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

Furthermore, Jesus is said to be the light of the world and the living Word of God.

Breathed Out by God/ Nor Shall It Return Empty!

Last but not least are references to the scriptures being breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. This is an example of how His Word is living and active. In Isaiah 55:11, God says that the Words from His mouth will not return empty but will accomplish that which He purposed it to do.

In conclusion, God’s Word is sweet as honey, has a purpose and will affect those who hear and receive it. It will provide light to those in the dark and provide a lamp to lead them out. Thus, it would be wise to meditate on His Word day and night.

Here is one of my favorite songs, Thy Word is Lamp Unto My Feet.

A Related Link: God’s Word Can Be a Feast!

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Now Comes the Challenge!

Challenge to Reconcile

Being ministers of reconciliation in today’s social environment is not going to be easy. I agree. It will be a challenge but nevertheless, we are called to it. How is the question?

There are several good books that offer help. But first, I think that we can do so especially in these tough times by extending a helping hand or just being with someone in their time of need. God is giving us an opportunity to share His love and grace to a hurting world. We can plant seeds of faith or water where seeds have been sown.

Now, remember that you are not alone in this endeavor. In John 14:26, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit will teach them all things and bring to remembrance all that He said to them This is true for us as well. Pray and ask God for the wisdom and the words to say to those around you.

Books to Help You with the Challenge.

I am currently studying C.S. Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity. In his day, he was speaking to the people of Britain during World War 2. He approached the topic from a very basic level which is what we will need to do in this time. Because people are resistant to hearing the Bible, preached at them. It might be helpful to hear this book on audio.

In addition to this book is one I highly recommend, Joining Jesus on His Mission, by Greg Finke. He gives great ideas and guidance as to how to be an everyday missionary. In this book, you will learn how to see what Jesus is doing in the lives of others and ways to reach others in a nonthreatening manner. This makes for a great study for any group. Go and make disciples!

Related Link: Minister of Reconciliation

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Minister of Reconciliation: Job Description

Reconciliation

I have been pondering 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. There is a lot in these three verses. Apart from being a new creation, there is a new job description. Through Christ God has entrusted me to be a minister of reconciliation. Let’s break these down into three parts.

Part One: New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” ESV

Here, we have a therefore so I looked at verses 11-16 to understand what proceeds the, therefore. I conclude that it is for the love of Christ that controls me that I am a new creation and I am no longer the old me. He has made me new. Not anything that I have done.

Part Two: God Made This Happen

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” ESV

Alleluia! God made this happen and I had nothing to do with it. God reconciled me to Himself through Christ. But, it comes with a new job assignment. He has given me the ministry of reconciliation. That’s right! I am to tell others about how God has reconciled me to Himself and that He can do the same for them.

Part Three: Message of Reconciliation

“that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” ESV

The message is that God has reconciled the world through Christ to Himself. Christ paid the price for the sins of the world, therefore, God no longer counts their sins against them. As recipients of His grace, we have been entrusted with this message.

So the question is “How are we at getting the message of reconciliation out to the world?”

I leave you with a link to a favorite song. New Lease on Life.

Related link: Heavenly Adoption VS. Earthly Adoption

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Are You Ready to Contend for the Faith?

Contend for your faith

Have you ever had to contend for your faith in Christ Jesus? In Jude 3-4, the author appealed to believers to contend for the faith against certain people who are ungodly and perverted the grace of our God and denied the Lord Jesus.

So what does it mean to contend? When used with a subject it means to assert or maintain earnestly. Therefore, one is to be ready to assert and maintain the reason for the hope that is in them.

Why? You Ask.

Because times are upon us that our faith will be challenged. There are several places in the Bible that we are urged to stand firm in our faith. I particularly like where the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to be “watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love, 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV.”

The Apostle Paul was very good at exhorting believers to stand firm in the faith. One fine example of this is in Philippians 3:17-4:1. He told those in Philippi to imitate him and keep their eyes on those who walked according to the example that he had set. Times were tough because there were enemies of the cross, however, Paul reminded the believers of their citizenship in heaven. Therefore, they were encouraged to stand firm in the Lord.

Likewise, there are enemies of the cross still today and we, too, are to stand firm.

Count It as Joy to Contend for the Faith.

In James 1:2-4, we are to count it joy when we meet various trails. Contending for our faith is definitely a trail. This is a testing of our faith which produces steadfastness. In turn, if we let the steadfastness have its full effect in us we will be complete and lack nothing.

Another thing to consider is that we are not left helpless. According to Luke 12:11-13, we don’t need to be anxious in defending ourselves or worry about what to say for the Holy Spirit will teach us what we ought to say.

Nor are we to turn away for Jesus said that if we deny Him He will deny us before the Father. Turning away can be seen as denying Him because one is not standing firm in the faith and acknowledging Jesus before others.

How We Ought to Answer.

Just tell your story! No one can refute it because it is your testimony. In gentleness, love, and truth, give the reason for the hope that is in you. For greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. You have an opportunity to plant a seed in someone else’s heart that only the Holy Spirit can cause to grow and hopefully take root.

Therefore, do not be afraid to speak, for God is with you wherever you go!

How have you had to contend for your faith? Please leave me a comment.

Related link: Be Ready to Give a Reason

If you want to read more on the subject, check out Kate’s link, 15 tips to help win arguments re Christian Faith on social media.

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Adoption: Earthly Compared to Heavenly

Adoption

Earthly Adoption

Adoption is a beautiful and wonderful experience for both the adoptive parents and child or children. For the child, it is heartwarming to be chosen. For the parents who are looking, I can only begin to imagine what the feelings might be when they have found the child or children they desire.

My two brothers and I were adopted by our step-dad when I was 12. My youngest brother was most especially excited about it. Not too long ago my adopted-dad, to whom I now call Dad, reminded me that he chose me for his daughter. It felt good to know that at the time.

Chosen is a very good feeling. Remember, how you felt when you were chosen to be on someone’s team in school? I remember standing and waiting to be chosen but was often the last one chosen.

Adoption gives a child that special feeling, too.

Adoption by Our Heavenly Father Through Faith

Romans 8:15-17 talks about a spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Abba means daddy. Have you ever called out to God, “Daddy?”

In the sermon on Sunday, Pastor Pohland spoke on Fatherly Adoption. It is from the heart of the one adopting, thus God chose me and other Christians. Our inheritance in the kingdom of God will not decrease as the number of those adopted in increases because heaven nor eternal life can be subdivided. This is unlike earthly inheritance which decreases with the number of descendants.

In sending His son to die for our sins, He gave us the right to become children of God to all who receive and believe in Jesus name (John 1:12-13).

You can find this theme in more places than one. In 2 Corinthians 6:18, God says that He will be a father to you and you shall be sons and daughters to Him. In Galatians 3:26, in Christ Jesus we are all sons of God, through faith. Galatians 4:5-6 repeats the same idea as in Romans 8:15-17.

Isn’t it good to know that you are wanted by your heavenly Father?

If you liked this you might also like: Redeemed, Defined and Explained.

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Three Key Points About the Name of Jesus!

Three Key Points

At the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) National Convention in Albuquerque, NM, our scripture verses was Philippians 2:9 This verse begins with a, therefore, thus, what comes before it is important. Hence, we will key on the following verses.

 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 ESV

The Three Key Points Are!

One, Jesus didn’t hold His equality with God over people. Thus, He didn’t use it to his advantage. Think about this for a moment. Here, He was with great power at his disposal, yet, He set that aside to do the will of His Father.

Second, He humbly took on the likeness of man. Therefore, He knows what it is like to be human and suffered many things while on earth. He was tempted yet without sin. He fulfilled the law whereas we could not.

The third and most important is that He was obedient to the point of death. This was no ordinary death like a heart attack or from old age. It was an excruciating and shameful death on a cross, though Jesus scorned the shame that came with it. There was a purpose in His death.

This is why God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above all names and that every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!(Philippians 2:9) Indeed, Jesus is the name above all names! He is the key to eternal life.


Related link: Excruciating Means Out of the Cross or Crucifixion3 Key Points

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 2:5 Or which was also in Christ Jesus
  2. Philippians 2:6 Or a thing to be held on to for advantage
  3. Philippians 2:7 Or slave (for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see Preface)

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The Greatest Gift Ever Given!

Gift of faith

What is the greatest gift you ever received?

If you were asked what is the greatest gift that you ever received, what would be your answer? I am sure that there are a number of things that come to mind. Such as a car or maybe a baby would be your answer. How did you respond to the person who gave you that special present?

Well, we have been given the greatest gift ever given. It is a freely given. There are no strings attached. You can’t earn nor can you pay for it. Once received you cannot lose it. This special freely given treasure is referenced several times in the New Testament.Gift

What is it? You Ask.

It is the gift of faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

How do I know that it is Freely Given?

I find that answer in Romans.

Romans 3:23-25 ESV, 23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Romans 5:15 ESV, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

Don’t you appreciate a free gift? We all do. But yet, this one is often rejected. This is sad but true.

Nevertheless, when someone receives something of great value as a present there is much excitement and they want to tell everyone about it.

So What are We to do About the Gift that We have Received?

We are to go tell others about it. After all, if you were forgiven a large debt, would you not want to shout it out from the mountaintop? This is what has been done for us through Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should respond as the Apostle Paul did.

2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”[i]

 

 

[i] Scripture references: English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

 

 

 

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