You Don’t Have to Give In

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. – 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13 NLT

I have been guilty of saying this and maybe you have too. I will never be, say, or do ______________. We tend to think and make others believe, by what we portray on the outside, we are super Christians who never goes through a problem nor will ever blow it big time (fall). There are a few things that jump out to me from my reading today.

Don’t trust your own judgement. Paul wrote, If YOU THINK you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. Ultimately it’s not about us. I can’t trust my judgement based on how close I think I am to God. My salvation has everything to do with Christ. I didn’t earn it and I can’t think I am so big in the faith that I can’t fall. In other words, guard your life and walk with Christ. Don’t become so high and mighty thinking you are the next best thing to come around. Be careful not to fall. Guard your life and don’t trust your own judgement.

My temptation isn’t new. Paul gives us insight that what we go through individually is no different than what others go through. The temptations in your life have been experiences by others and guess what, some have overcome that temptation and serve as examples to us. However in order to know this we have to share what we are going through. That’s the beauty of the Church or Fellowship of the believers. You are part of a spiritual family to serve and share your life with one another.

God isn’t trying to trip me up but leaves me with the choice. God is faithful, he doesn’t put us in a maze called life and sit above us watching and laughing when we get stuck in a corner. God sets perimeters in our life in order that we live faithful and fruitful lives. He says what is allowed in our life and makes it plain that nothing enters more than what we can withstand. God knows our limitations. Further, when temptations come our way he even offers us help. He will show us the way out. Ultimately God gives me the choice to choose the way out or the option to give in. He wants us to choose the way out.

In conclusion, be careful not to fall. Don’t trust your own judgement. The temptations you face aren’t new. God isn’t trying to trip you up but ultimately the choice is up to us whether or not we get out of or give in to the temptations in our life. Choose to get out.

People Over Personal Preference

“So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” -Romans 14:19 NLT

I love the simplistic way the NLT translates this verse. It leaves no doubt whom Paul is addressing and what He hopes the hearers will do. Paul writes to believers about believers. The ultimate goal, harmony. The process by which the goal is accomplished, edification, or the process of building one another up. In other words, harmony takes place when each person makes a deliberate effort to choose people over personal preference.

I firmly believe if we as believers are going to be an example to those outside of the church, harmony must be present among us as a collective body. The Church (fellowship) should be a place where peace, unity, and harmony is prevalent. Discord and disputes should be as common as a frog with wings.

I am convinced that the reason there is a lack of harmony in most Churches and homes is do to the fact that our aim is off. We’ve chosen personal preference over people.

I’ve seen through the years of growing up in church that our aim/focus has been on lesser things than the main thing. For instance, we can rally around a particular team, sport, political party, and or candidate but not around the mission that Christ has called the church to accomplish. We aim for lesser things than the main reason for our existence, Jesus Christ. Let this be a reminder,

Christ built the church, Christ loves the church, and Christ is coming back for the Church, and the Church is made up of people.

In the movie The Patriot, the main character played by Mel Gibson taught his young sons how to shoot. Before firing in a tense situation the young boy kept reminding himself of the lesson his dad taught him, “Aim Small, Miss Small.” In other words, the only way you can hit your desired target is to be accurate.

The means by which we obtain harmony in the body of Christ is the process of building one another up, edification.

It’s not about my personal convictions, it’s about helping one another grow in their personal walk with Christ. I am reminded that I must aim for harmony and be deliberate about building one another up in the faith. People matter and they must be built up.

Who can you build up today? Give them a call, send them a note, stop by their home or place of work just to tell them they matter.

Making the Bible a Priority Makes a Difference Today

On September 1st I started month four of a six month journey through the New Testament. In June I invited those who were a part of the congregation to join me. Each month we have created bookmarks, like the one in the sidebar, and gave them to those who wanted to take the journey. As we started  on the first day in June I was so excited from promoting and kicking off the reading plan that it was a breeze those first couple of day’s.

Read the Bible in order that you may grow in your relationship with Christ. Not merely to finish a “goal.”

After the newness of starting something wore off I found myself having to push myself to keep going. Not because I didn’t want to read, but because I approached reading the New Testament as something monumental. Instead of focusing on getting into God’s word I began to focus on finishing a goal. As I continued to press through and read on, God has begun to change me. He’s changing me through His word. I am finding that as I wake I can’t wait to get into the reading for today, not because it will take me closer to finishing the “goal” but because it will take me deeper into my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Bible reading is for personal growth first.

As a matter of fact, as a Pastor it’s our “job” to be in the word, right? To pull out the deep truths of God’s word and reveal them to those he has called us to Pastor? I am afraid that for many getting into the word has become just that, our “job” and not a pleasure. Don’t get me wrong over the last few months the messages have been coming from a text which we have read together as a Church the previous week but as I read in my quiet time my approach is for personal growth first. As I have finished reading through Acts 13 this morning, the last 3 months have been truly transforming. My personal time with God has come first. If I can leave you with one thing it is this… Make scripture a priority in your life today.

Engaging in the Bible is more than just something to be checked off as a believer. Engaging the Holy Scripture keeps you grounded as you follow Christ.

Spiritual Disciplines are Memorials

Acts 10:4 (NKJV) – “Your prayers and your alms (deeds of charity, a donation to the poor) have come up for a memorial (that by which the memory of a person or thing is preserved, remembrance) before God.

There is no secret formula for hearing from God or being used by God. I have found through scripture that it is God’s desire to use you and I for his purposes. Its amazing to think of some of the people whom God chooses to use. I am sure you know a few (starting with yourself) that makes you stand back in awe at God’s mercy and grace. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea at the point I am trying to convey by posting the above scripture. Before I go any further I believe it is important that I state, I do not believe you can buy off God. However, I do believe that the spiritual disciplines we have set up in or life have a way of causing God to remember that we are available for him to use.

Our scripture text does not give the impression that Cornelius (the man whom this passage is referring to) was doing these things as a selfish motive to get in God’s good graces. What scripture does reveal is, “Cornelius was a devout man who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” -Acts 10:2. In my simple thinking Cornelius was just reaching upward (connecting with God) and reaching outward (helping others). Because of Cornelious’ discipline of continually seeking God and helping others it allowed him to be remembered by God and the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles (non Jews) and the gospel of Jesus Christ advanced…see Acts 10:44-48.

In short, the point is this. Keep establishing a pattern of disciplines in your life no matter how hard it gets or how easy it would be to give up. You are not doing what you do to be seen by anyone but an audience of one, our Lord Jesus Christ. The process by which you make yourself available for God’s use is by establishing Godly disciplines in your life today.

Am I Speaking Clearly

11 we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. – Acts 2:11 (NKJV)

Have you ever been misunderstood?

Have there been times between someone else speaking and it getting to your ears you completely misunderstand the point and are left dazed?

In reading Acts 2 I am encouraged. I am encouraged because I am reminded once again that the Holy Spirit working in our lives has the ability to empower you and I to be an effective witnesses. Though the disciples of Jesus Christ were unlearned in speaking to the various dialects of those that were in Jerusalem for Pentecost, they were empowered to speak in a tongue (language) they haven’t learned as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were supernaturally infused with the gift to speak of the wonderful works of God in a way that those who were there could understand. This stopped me dead in my tracks this morning as I read this passage and the thought hit me.

Are we speaking clearly to those around us on a day to day basis the wonderful works of God or is it just noise?

Simply, when others are around us are they able to state the following… “There is no doubt something is different about (insert your name here). What in the world could that difference be.” The point is this, our witness must be compelling, our witness must be engaging, and our witness must be clear. Your witness can only be those things by the supernatural empowering of the Holy Spirit. Determine today that as a believer you are going to allow the Holy Spirit to empower you in order to speak clearly to those around you.

Any thoughts? Any insight? Continue the conversation by leaving a comment.

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