As we move forward, promoting The Gospel of Jesus Christ, expect the blessings to shower your every step!
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (I Corinthians 15:58 NIV)
As we prepare to say goodbye to 2014 and face the challenges of 2015--don’t be moved–tempted to join the masses in thinking there is no hope.
No matter who sits in the White House, they are not God–they do not hold our future in their hands and there is nothing they can do to change God’s plans. They may be used as part of God’s plans, but they cannot change God’s plans.
Neither will it matter who holds the majority votes in either the House or the Senate–God is still God–even if some politicians think they are, they’re not.
No matter how negative the media reports every event–they will have to stand before God one day, too and give account for how they reported news and so will their producers–whose biases are represented in the news reports.
No matter how many people are killed by the negligence of gun owners, police, or criminals–God still has the last word–and soon, very soon, all will know that the NRA is not God nor do they represent Godly behavior.
No matter how many people appear to suffer at the hands of dictators and godless leaders–God will wipe the slate clean and all who honor and respect Him, will be vindicated.
No matter who attempts to change the intent of God’s Word to appease the masses for fleshly pleasure–they, too will stand before God and give account of themselves, but before that–they will see firsthand how the wrath of God deals with those who profess to know Him, but live in opposition to His Word.
No matter how many people say we, who Believe are foolish and unlearned–don’t be moved–the same was said of those God used to inspire to write down what He said. Remember this–the fool has said in his heart there is no God and then allowed his lips to utter the same expression. Don’t be moved by their unbelief, God will move them.
No matter what 2015 brings into our lives–stand firm, unmovable, in the faith that we are victorious in all things and no matter what the enemy attempts to do to deter us–we shall not be moved because with God going before us–He is more than the world against us! Hallelujah!
“Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:25-27 NIV)
Why is this same debate still strong today? For the same reason it was debated then–if we don’t follow Jesus, we cannot know who He is or that He is God and that He and the Father are one in purpose.
Trying to explain Jesus to people who have not submitted themselves to understanding by knowing The Word or having a relationship with God is pointless. Basically, those who debate or attempt to debate belief in Jesus are simply trying to undermine those who do. For those who have questions and genuinely want to know, their hearts are open to hear and understand. These are those who yet have a heart of flesh and not of stone. Flesh can be molded and shaped, while stone is resistant and knowledge simply bounces off or causes the stone to shatter into pieces and the pieces are ground into sand.
God does not want us to be ground into the dirt, broken without knowledge. He wants us to know Him, but the choice is ours. We can live the abundant life He plans for us or we can be shattered and lost in our unbelief. It’s up to us.
And while some may say–“I’ll give my life to Jesus tomorrow,” tomorrow might be too late. Today, while you yet have a chance to open your heart to Him and hear Him say, “I love you and want only the best for you while on you’re here earth and for you to live with me for all eternity when life on earth ends.” Today, while there is breath in your body is the time to choose! Choose life because only those who follow Him, will know Truth at the end!
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” (I Corinthians 14:40 NKJV)
To keep things in context before I start my rant, remember this verse has to do with doing all things decently and in order in the church; especially in how we conduct church services. Though I could “rant” about how many don’t understand this as it pertains to the church, I’d rather take another route so hopefully, people will think about how they do things–outside of the church, as well as inside.
Old School Teaching about Etiquette–apparently no one is teaching anyone how to conduct themselves when in the presence of others. So, I decided to take this upon myself because rudeness and inconsiderate people really try my patience.
1. Ignoring given time-frames for an event and showing up whenever a person feels like it is rude and inconsiderate. People don’t have to explain why they decide to do things at a specific time and if a person plans to participate in the event, they should be on time. If they cannot be on time, don’t attend at all. But do send the host an RSVP whether attending or not so they don’t waste their money.
2. Ignoring common courtesies such as–not talking with a mouth full of food (no one wants to see what you’re chewing), having “very loud” conversations on a cell phone in public (this is your business and the rest of don’t need to know it).
3. Knowing that children have not been raised to respect other adults and taking them with you to be rude and disrespectful. Until a child is trained how to behave away from home–keep them at home so no one will just how neglectful you’ve been as a parent.
4. Excluding other people invited to an event in a home. People should learn how to communicate effectively with conversation that all can join–not play games that exclude others when there are number of people at the event.
5. Inviting yourself to eat at someone’s home. Don’t visit other people or drop by their house and ask for their food. If offered, then it’s okay; but if not offered, don’t ask–this is a sign of no home-training whatsoever. If you don’t know how they budget their food for their convenience, don’t disrupt the flow of someone’s plans for themselves.
This list could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. Etiquette rules–though not followed very often–are still available online and in bookstores. Think about this–how would you want someone to treat you and your home?
If I have offended any–good–perhaps it’s time someone told you how to act in public. If any have learned anything–even better since the purpose was to remind people how to act in public. When we learn how to do things at home and practice it at all times, we have no need to be reminded when in public.
I’m praying for us all to learn to do things decently and in order at all times–in church and at home!
In this coming new year, we all need to get an understanding of what it is we believe and then our beliefs (what we confess with our mouths) should guide everything we do.
If we say we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (God in the flesh) and we should live according to The Word, then we should not promote any beliefs or conformity to anything that does not align with The Word.
We should not hate or humiliate others simply because they do not believe what we do or because they are different. What a boring world this would be if we all looked alike, thought alike, and talked alike, and did everything the exact same way. If God had wanted clones, He could have accomplished that. He created us uniquely individual, capable of doing all sorts of great things to His glory, according to His Word. He has given all gifts–that differ–so we might all enjoy the collective benefits of all the gifts He has given.
The gifts I reference are not just the spiritual gifts needed by apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers or those listed in I Corinthians 12–tongues, interpretation, miracles, healing, discernment, wisdom, knowledge, faith, or prophecy–these are needed to build the Kingdom of God so that all needs are met. I’m referring to the “natural gifts” that He gives so all may benefit–the gift of writing, creating music, singing, painting, sculpturing, nurturing, counseling, parenting, comforting, encouraging, helping, and a host of other gifts–that many can enjoy whether they are saved or not.
However, being saved–puts us in a unique position to promote the Gospel with the gifts He has given. The Believer should always utilize the gifts given to promote the Love of God and in obeying His Word. The unbelieving are also gifted and most of them use their gifts to entertain the masses according to their gift and in many cases, entice people to live in opposition to God’s Word.
It is not that Believers are superior to unbelievers; it is simply a matter of Believers knowing our Risen Savior and living to please Him, rather than appeasing fleshly dictates.
When the end comes, we are all going the same path–through death (if The Lord delays His return), so none are better than the other, but some are more astute than others because of the relationship established with Jesus!
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44,45 NIV)
Talk about having a sense of humor! When Jesus told people to do this I can only imagine what they were thinking. “What? Is He nuts? No, He wasn’t–He was simply being who He was and is–Love!
Love–can only produce love, can only ignite love, can only fuel love and while it can be a strain sometimes, to love the unlovable, we can do it when we remember this. The problem with remembering this message is that we are often seduced by a spirit of self-righteousness to think we have to cater to those who hate us and we we do not.
How do I know? When Jesus overturned the tables in the temple because of the farce He saw of hypocrites, He loved them enough to correct them. When parents have rules and instill in their children appropriate behaviors it is because of love. God has established proprieties for all of us and in order to obey Him, we have to love–not be foolish, but care enough about people that we plan no harm, but want to see them in position to receive all that God has for them.
Only an enemy plans harm–love plans care and protection.
Even when we recognize the enemy, we can still love them enough to correct them, redirect their thinking, and treat them courteously, and never lose sight of the rules established to maintain order and consideration of others.
Because people “in general” do not understand the meaning of courtesy and consideration, they often ignore the rules of courtesy and the laws of the land. Discourteous drivers think they are the only ones with the right to drive on the roads, at any time, and to ignore those who also have rights. Discourteous movie-goers have phones ringing and public conversations that interfere with those who have also paid to see the movie to “hear” what’s on the screen. Discourteous people eat at restaurants and never tip their servers appropriately. Discourteous people only think about what they want and never consider the rights of others or give them any consideration. In spite of all this, we can still love–sometimes from afar–and pray that their hearts will be softened to hear God and know Love, so they, too–can love.
Regardless of how we feel–as long as we do not allow ourselves to be put in harm’s way–we love regardless of the attitudes of others towards us. Jesus said so, but even He had limits and boundaries–because He is love!
“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.” (Proverbs 4:7,8 NIV)
When we look at the “wisdom” discussed in Proverbs, we sometimes miss the fact that we cannot seek true wisdom, unless we seek it from God. “If any lack wisdom, ask of God who will give it” (paraphrased). Seeking wisdom from any source other than God is foolishness for man does not have the capacity to distribute the wisdom God has.
Once we have sought God for wisdom, now we must seek understanding–no matter what the cost may be. The cost here is not necessarily a monetary cost, but a cost in humility, service, and constant communication with God. Are we willing to pay the cost to stay before the Father, no matter how foolish people say we are? Or will we succumb to the masses and man’s limited wisdom and attempt to please man more than God?
In this life we all have choices and our victory over all that is put before will be determined by the wisdom of our choices. Will we succeed or will be defeated?
Get wisdom and understanding and develop a willingness to pay the cost–even though you may appear foolish, determine to be a fool for God and not for man.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:21 NKJV)
As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, remember it is not about the gifts we give to others, but about The Gift He gave to us. And we know that the 25th of December is not the day He was born and it really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that He was born, He lived, He died, He rose and now sits at the right hand of His Father–interceding for us, watching over us, empowering us with His Spirit to accomplish all things and live the abundant life He promised us! Let’s celebrate Him and be thankful for all we have in Him and through Him!