Wednesday, September 26, 2018

September 26 Thought for the day....loving and serving for others success


We will continue talking about God's love for us and the love we should have for each other. Just as a reminder it is a love that never quits. It keeps pushing through to see the result even if it doesn't see or sense any return. We love just because He first loved us

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 1 Corinthians 13:4

Yesterday we talked about the type of love that restrains anger, being patient. Today I want us to look at being kind and not jealous.

When the Holy Spirit is speaking to us about God's nature and our challenge to love as "kind," He is saying that love is adaptable and compliant to the needs of others. When this type of love is working in your life, you don't demand that people be just like you. Instead, "kind" is the willingness to serve and adapt to meet the needs of others. When you are considering this you need to ask in all of my relationships, do I demand that people become just like me or to I work hard to work with people where they are to help them become the best they can be.

You are not a doormat instead you recognize your strengths and humble yourself to find the strengths and gifts in others to help them fulfill their destiny. Kindness is serving from strength looking to help others become their best.

Love is not "jealous." Jealous here could be translated envious, meaning a person who is radically consumed with their own desires and own plans. It is the direct opposite of this type of love which is not selfish, self-absorbed, or self-centered. This kind of love doesn't think of itself first but is always looking outward. Look at your own relationships at home, at church, at work and ask, "Am I committed to the success and blessing of others or is it only my own desires that I want to succeed?"Are you caught in only your own self-interest? We are a Body, a family, and when we look to help make the best for others, we are also blessing ourselves.

How does your life reflect these traits? If you are, then praise God for what He is accomplishing in you already. If not, don't waste time beating yourself up, ask the Lord to help you make the changes necessary to be who God has called you to be all along!



Tuesday, September 25, 2018

September 25 Thought for the day...are you patient?


So much time, thought, writing, so many movies, books, and songs talk about love you think every one of us would have a complete handle on what it means. The wounds of our past, broken relationships, mistreatment, abuse, and neglect have so skewed our understand that I felt it important to talk about how the Holy Spirit defines love which is the basis of the way the church and especially the gifts of the Spirit should flow through a church.

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud" 1 Corinthians 13:4

What is love? The word Paul uses here is the highest form of love. In fact in the entire New Testament, this word is used only to define God's love and the type of love that should flow from every believer's heart. The basis of this type of love is one that gives and gives and gives even if it is not responded to, reciprocated, thanked or acknowledged it keeps loving regardless of the recipient's response or lack of response. This is the highest level of love. It is the purest, noblest, form of love there is!

God has designed these verses to reveal a reflection to each of us. This is the type of love we are called to have always. If you are not living this yet, don't worry, the Holy Spirit has you reading this so you can see how to do it and pray to make it happen in your life.

Love is patient! The word translated patient means "restrain anger." It is the idea that you are willing to wait for someone to come around, to hear what you have to say or to understand what you are trying to teach. The word lived out in a person's life means they do not give in, they don't back out, they keep on going until they eventually understand what the Holy Spirit is doing. A person with this kind of love is like a never-ending flow of cooling water to keep refreshing even if the person will not be refreshed. This river does not come from a person but through a person from God.

When this type of love is poured out, it may take time, but it changes people. It is human nature to give up, to toss up your hands and say, "I'm done, " but God doesn't give up. How many times did Israel turn their backs on God yet he still loved. How many times have you turned your back on God yet He still loves. God is patient, and as a person filled with His Spirit, we need to reflect that patience too.

Maybe you feel as if God has given up on you, He hasn't. God never will. Perhaps you are in an impossible situation trying to love someone that is just unlovable. You can't do it on your own, but He can pour His great love into you, so you are no longer on your own, but He is filling you to overflowing, so you have enough for you and the people in your life.

God loves you...let Him!

Monday, September 24, 2018

September 24 Thought for the day...maturity and love


In all my years of ministry and the 100+ countries, I have traveled through I have learned one very important thing about God. God is love. While that might not be a world-shaking discovery, the practical application of God's love in the world is missing. Paul talks about that 1 Corinthians 13:1

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."

There was a problem with the church in Corinth. Many people flowing in the gifts of the Spirit were being very "super-spiritual." The problem came when they put the "flowing" in the gifts ahead of the love of God!

"Noisy Gong" this doesn't give us the full explanation in English. It means something that continuously reverberates. Paul is talking about people who are like a nonstop clanging noise, a person who talked incessantly. He is referring to people who seem to flow in the gifts of the Spirit. However, their actions do not reflect God's love. They are all about them, not about the people around them or reaching the world for Christ.

"Clanging cymbal" refers to the clashing of cymbals the way the nation of Israel did as they prepared for war. Paul was referring to people who are so irritating that they make you want to get into a fight with them. We need to understand that Paul was referring to spirit-filled people. They loved the Lord were filled with His Spirit but were not fully mature.

God pours out His Spirit on all kinds of people who love Jesus. Maturity doesn't seem to be one of the qualities that are necessary for in-filling of the Holy Spirit just like it is not necessary for salvation. When people are caught up in the gifts and forget that love is the measure of the gifts they become either a non-stop talker or someone that is so irritating that you want to punch them.

The challenge for us is that if a person is this irritating to us, why are they that irritating? We need to check the love we are walking in, as well to make sure we are as mature as what we need to be. Paul writes about this in the middle of his explanation of the gifts of the Spirit. Our effectiveness in flowing in the gifts is only as powerful as the love we walk in. Over the next few days, we will be exploring this chapter a little more.

Friday, September 21, 2018

September 21 Thought for the day...a message for real idiots


Have you ever been called an idiot, imbecile, or stupid? Have you ever been looked at as being overly naive or ignorant? Chances are if you have given any time sharing your faith with those who consider themselves superior in our culture you have either been called these things or have been considered to be naive by others.  If you have, you are among a powerful group of people.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 1 Corinthians 1:26, 27

Have you ever felt ill-equipped to share the Gospel with others? Have you ever felt less valuable than others? Have you ever felt God has a great plan for everyone but me? If any of that is true, then this is the scripture for you.

The word "foolish" means to be dull, dense, or slow. This word was used to make fun of people and to degrade them. How often because of our beliefs we are considered imbeciles, morans, or idiots. The world cannot grasp its own limitations, and the pride of people in the world is too large to recognize that they are in need of a savior. When we believe, foolishly in the world's eyes, that there is a God in heaven, that He created all things, and that He is in control, we seem idiotic to a world that can't believe in anything they can not see, feel, or quantify. We "put to shame" which means to confound, frustrate, embarrass, confuse, or leave them scratching their heads, every wise person. We walk in love and freedom because of Jesus, and these too are hard to see, feel and quantify!

The "wise" Paul is talking about means the naturally brilliant, the illuminated, the sharp. Most of the early church were the lower classes, less cultured, and uneducated. It wasn't that they weren't brilliant people they simply had never been taught. They had more than enough sense to recognize their need for a savior and brilliant enough to realize everything had to come from somewhere. In fact, their believing actually made the "foolish" of this world intellectually superior because they knew and believed the truth, allowing the weak to put to shame the wise.

That being the case who are the real idiots? Is it those who are considered weak by the world's standards but recognized their need of a savior or those who are considered wise, but reject God?

Jesus said we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. If you know the truth, you can set others free as well!

By the way, if you struggle with being able to defend what you believe I did a sermon series entitled "Please don't ask me" a series dealing with the questions Christians fear most. If you are interested in hearing them they can be found here: http://christiancenter.us/category/sermons/ You can scroll through to find the topics that most interest you.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

September 20 Thought for the day...lessons from a snake



Most people I know don't like snakes. I am not overly fond of them myself, but I know if a snake is around that means there is a food source such as mice or rats. I would rather have the snake than the mice or rats. Jesus said an odd thing about snakes that we need to understand.

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16

How in the world is a snake wise? The word translated wise here means careful, discerning, prudent, intelligent. The word translated serpent means any type of snake. That seems to be pretty clear. How is a snake wise and how does it apply to our walk as Christians? God is always moving us into new areas of maturity, challenging us to grow and trust Him in new things. As Jesus is talking about each of us launching into what is new to us, how does a snake handle new territory?

Please remember it was Jesus who brought up the example of a snake, not me. When a snake moves into new territory, it does so unannouncedly it does not make a big splash. They were created camouflaged and in many ways they use that to remain hidden. When God is bringing us into something new, it is wise to watch and observe rather than announcing the grand and glorious thing God is doing through us. A man's or woman's gifts make room for them. We don't need to be concerned about our promotion; God will open the door at the right time.

When a snake moves into new territory, it looks for a place of shelter, places to hide, and ample food supply. When God is calling us into a new thing we always need to know where is our shelter? Where can we have our retreat with the Lord? When I am being stretched I need to understand who I can count on to stand with me, who are the people I can trust that will keep me in prayer, being a shelter over me. I also need to know what are the scriptures I can stand on in my new adventure, my food source, that I need to keep me strong.

There is a whole world that needs each of us to be who God has called us to be. We can not remain where we are, doing the same things over and over and expect new and fresh results. We need to grow and change. We need to move into new territories, and we must do it with wisdom. I'm not thrilled with being compared to a snake but God created them too, and we can learn from anything if we trust the one who created everything.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September 19 Thought for the day...stop every attack


Do you ever get so tired of the devil harassing you?  Do you wish it would just end? The devil attacks everyone, especially those growing and moving in God. Paul tells us about a way to shut him down every time he attacks. Want to know how?

"above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." Ephesians 6:16

Can you imagine it, every attack of the enemy being defeated by faith! I know you can believe it but what is the practical application? I'm glad you asked! Let's look at what Paul is saying. The phrase "will be able" is much more powerful than it sounds. It should be translated "dynamic, explosive power" so the phrase should read "the shield of faith by which you have dynamic, explosive power quenches all the fiery darts.

What is the shield of faith? It is believing God at His word. When we know God's word, believe God's word, and live God's word, then we are living by faith, and that faith becomes a shield about us.

To further stress this point Paul states, with this faith we can quench (extinguish) the fiery darts of the enemy. The word translated "quench" means to douse or soak with water. In Roman times the Gauls and others would hollow out arrows and fill them with combustible fluid. The tips of the arrows would be set ablaze, and as soon as the arrow hit its target it would explode, and the fluid would cover the target catching everything on fire. This was Paul's picture of a fiery dart.

How can anyone expect to extinguish this type of arrow? The Bible tells us that our faith is increased by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). Paul wrote earlier in Ephesians 5:26 that Word of God cleanses like water. He had in mind how the Romans prepared for battle. They knew they would face fiery darts, so they soaked their shields in water, so when the darts/arrows hit the shields, they were put out immediately.

When we know God's word, live it, and believe it we have a dynamic, explosive power that even though the enemy may shoot at us, every dart will be put out! They will not harm us!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

September 18 Thought for the day...are you ready to succeed?



When I was a young boy, my parents allowed me to buy my first motorcycle. We had lots of wooded areas near our home, and so we created miles of trails. That first little bike, a Honda 50 was great for a six-year-old but wasn't meant to do the jumps and climb the hills I wanted. As I grew older, the bikes got bigger, faster, and more powerful. As I grew older, I knew I was beyond trails and wanted to drive cross country, so I got a Kawasaki 900 Z1-A the quickest stock bike at that time. It was used, so I took the time to repaint, add all the accessories I would need for a cross-country tour and took off knowing both the motorcycle and me were equipped for a successful ride from PA to Alaska to Texas then back home. We need to be ready for our successful journey too. Paul tells us how.

"...that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:17

Paul is instructing young Timothy about the power of knowing and studying the word of God. The phrase, "complete, thoroughly equipped" means to be all decked out to have everything, and then some, that you need, assuming that you were once ill-equipped for the journey but now are completely prepared, fully supplied, thoroughly ready, and having all that you need to succeed.

The average Christian reads their Bible once a week. It is the words of life and is powerful for tearing down every stronghold and helps us to discern what is the truth from a lie. One of the reasons that many Christians are unsuccessful in their walk with the Lord is they are ill-equipped. They do not know the Word or have it hidden in their heart. It would be like me trying to ride that little Honda 50 cross country. It is not made for such a long journey nor the highways of life. Having salvation guarantees us heaven but doesn't guarantee us a successful or fruitful life.



When we know God's word, study God's word the Holy Spirit illumines our minds and hearts. We understand the Father's heart and His plans for us, our families, our church, and this world. We understand when we are under attack, how to overcome. We can apply God's word in our daily lives to guarantee success, joy, peace, and fruitfulness in all we do. As I was with my cross-country travel, we are completely prepared for the journey and whatever may come our way. The Psalmist wrote God's word is "a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path." It illuminates the darkness, so we have overcome and had success in all we do!