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Posts Tagged ‘believers’

What would others say your words seem to be seasoned with?

Think about before you try to answer. Don’t just try to squeeze yourself into the textbook Sunday school answer. Think about what others would say about your words.

How do you come off to other folks? Is it like your words are seasoned with grace? Or, is it like you sound almost a if you forgot that you yourself have been saved by grace and forgiveness mixed and blended with the lovingkindness of God?

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A Goal of Graciousness

Paul’s words to the believers in Colosse seem straightforward and stern: “Let your speech always be gracious. . .”

Let’s just focus on that for a moment.

Could you imagine the number of insults that would incrementally decrease as a result of maintaining a goal of graciousness?

Can you picture how many souls would turn to us and ask about God if we as Christians just focused on our “speech always be(ing) gracious?”

The wonder is not what would happen if we did set graciousness as our goal. The wonder is why we do not set gracious speech as our goal time and time again.

To Whom Much Grace is Given…

I know that is a poor paraphrase, but walk with me for a moment on this one.

What if we just identified what we have been given much of in order to fulfill the requirement in turn? In other words, what if we looked at it deeper when we read this portion of Luke 12:48? What if it was about much LOVE or much FORGIVENESS? We cannot take Christianity as a robotic religion when He has endowed us with free will and His Spirit, the Helper, to quicken us in response to His urging and imploring us to be different and live differently. We have to accept that God desires us to meditate on His Word day and night.

If nothing else, we can set a course for change. We can determine within ourselves to make the change and seek to keep gracious speech as the gateway to offering grace to others as we go to and fro. In our various settings, whether in line at the coffee shop or at the table in the board room, we can choose to speak to others with much grace as we keep in mind that it was with much grace that God sacrificed His only begotten son for our salvation.

Speak with grace today and every day.

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He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Oftentimes, Christians see issues of their days and times and superimpose them into the biblical prophecy of the Last Days and point out the most likely public figure who fits the bill to be the Antichrist. This is usually a futile exercise in trying to give it a name and a label rather than trying to deal with the matters of the day.

Black Lives Matter & Protests for Social Justice

Is it still a question for some who believe if Black Lives Matter or not? I wish that I could say that it is an unfair question, but there are plenty who profess the love of Christ who find it difficult to love all of God’s creation and creatures, including their fellow man.

Look at blog posts from others that speak to the fact that Black Lives Matter has to be defended or justified as a statement. I read posts from folks like Cynthia Reyes and I feel like the depths of the despair experienced by countless people of color has been echoed in the kindred voice of another in the blogosphere. I read Thinking Moon’s post and realize that we both share a love for Toni Morrison (and she picked my two favorite works by her, too), but we both have two entirely different walks on this earth as a person of privilege and a person of color.

Christians do not have to hold a come to Jesus meeting about coming to an agreement about protests for social justice, police reform, and Black Lives Matter. We do need to acknowledge that there is a problem within our communities and across our nation in the United States that has captured our attention in the midst of a major health pandemic. We do need to agree that, despite many of the best intentions of good Bible-carrying believers, many Christians will not act on such matters until the pastor, the shepherd of the local church, has shared spiritual words of guidance on these same matters. The matters of today have come before the altar of the house of the faithful and await a word from on high as heavenly light from above shine upon them like a spotlight.

Doing What’s Right is Right

Seeking social justice is right. It is biblical. It is the Christian thing to do. The words in Micah 6:8 said for us to “do justice.” Naturally, English makes for a poor translation but I think we could get the point. Our measure for our religion is a matter for how we treat others. The question to answer is: Are we doing right by what the Lord calls us to do?

Aretha, the Queen of Soul, said it in a secular sense when she spoke a Do Right Woman and a Do Right Man. Could you be considered to be one who is in the business of doing right, especially doing right by others?

Jesus used a parable to speak about the “least of these.” He pointed out that the way to do right by the Lord was to do right by others. He depicted through this parable a way to do right for those who could not do you a solid and pay you back. He let us get a glimpse of what it truly means to be godly and gracious, by showing that we can show compassion towards and offer comfort for the hungry, the imprisoned, the naked, and the others that life seems to easily overlook.

And What Does the LORD Require of You?

And what does the LORD require of you? It is inserted in a retort in this passage due to the insinuation by the people that the Lord is asking them to do the impossible. The notion that the people presented to the prophet was that the Lord was being too hard on them in what He sought from them.

. . .but to do justice

We can say a lot but our actions speak louder and in greater volume than our words. We can say that Black Lives Matter is trending on Twitter and will fade away like the chants of “No justice, no peace.” The truth is that justice is right and we are called to do right as claim to love our neighbors as ourselves.

. . . and to love kindness

Kindness is like love. It’s all action and feelings. It’s not double talk. It comes down to our interaction with others, especially those who do not look like us, sound like us, or even believe what we believe.

. . . and to walk humbly with your God

Humility is a lost art. It is as ancient as things like respect and righteousness. To “walk humbly” requires us to humble ourselves. I believe C.H. Spurgeon said it best when he is quoted as saying: “Every Christian has a choice between being humble and being humbled.”

What will be your choice today?

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Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

Henry David Thoreau

I came across Michelle Lesley’s blog while searching for something else, something utterly and entirely different. I don’t know if I could count it as an accident. I just know that I can count this as a discovery in my book, and that carries a lot of weight as I evaluate where and how to spend the limited commodity of time.

Michelle Lesley got me thinking when she served up the blessing of social media for believers. I looked to the Simple Preacher, hoping his feed would clear my head, but he merely indirectly confirmed some of this woman’s findings.

Stop for a moment and consider what this Christian blogger did by simply adhering to the content calendar credo and posting an item for Throwback Thursday. She used a name that is attached to both our faith identity and our answer for who is our Savior.

“Live out your beliefs. . .”

Believers.

In a word, our identity is summed up. We believe, so we are to live differently. Yet, we are called out and expected to live differently due to those beliefs. We walk out our beliefs, and we put our faith on display in the flesh as we engage other believers and those who remain in unbelief.

“. . . and you can turn the world around.”

We are now identified differently because we live our beliefs. Since we believe, we live out those beliefs and accomplish the miraculous. I don’t mean water into water. We achieve the impossible before the eyes of the hopeless and helpless. We overcome the insurmountable as our enemies and other bystanders look on with awe and amazement. We survive and stand out as miracles of the Maker.

We are to “turn the world around.” And I believe that to be part of our calling. That is why I started my podcast Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce. That is why I launch the video live stream for Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce on YouTube ad Facebook.

It is not enough for us to say that we believe. We need to get over it and get on with it. We need to get busy and get to what the Lord has for us to do. If we are called to “turn around the world” as a result of our beliefs, then we can definitely do so by living differently, offering inspiration and encouragement for people from all walks of life to better themselves.

“The highest human act is to inspire”.- Nipsey Hussle

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You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me-John 5:39

Many of us who claim to love Christ have yet to truly live for Christ.  In essence, we cannot live for Christ until we come to learn about Him.  As we learn about Him, we begin to live like Him.  In living like Him, we come into the glorious light of illumination towards living for Him.

To serve like Christ, we must:

  • Examine the Savior (Study Jesus)
  • Exemplify the Savior (Serve Jesus)

Examine the Savior (Study Jesus)

Start with the Scriptures

Jesus Himself said in the Gospel of John that the Scriptures testify about Him.  The truth about Jesus may be learned and understood through a thorough and consistent study of the God’s Holy Word.  It is this type of study that will revolutionize your relationship with the Lord and Savior of our salvation.  Devote yourself to the daily discipline of biblical study and devotional reading.

Read Sound Doctrine and Materials

Max Lucado wrote an epic book on Jesus aptly entitled No Wonder They all Him the Savior.  It is a simple, straightforward style that presents Jesus in plain everyday language.  Such are the works of brilliant and inspiring theologians.  Find the works of E.M. Bounds, Charles Spurgeon, Andrew Murray and A.W. Tozer as well as some other notable of the faith.

Exemplify the Savior (Serve Jesus)

The New Testament teaching is clearly stated in 1 John 2:6.  We are to walk as He walked.  Andrew Murray states it plainly, saying: “As He was, so we are to be.”

Serving Jesus includes serving like Jesus.  He has given us His own earthly example.

Follow his ministry and its message and methods.  Make a clear divide between what the world accepts and what the Lord commands of us.  Live by the latter of the two.

Some additional helpful resources:

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“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”  – Mark 1:15 (NIV)

Doing as He Says

Repentance and belief are what lead to salvation.  The first calling for us as believers is to salvation.  We are called to believe the Good News (the gospel).  Upon our internal belief in it, then we confess our belief in Jesus as Savior before men.  This our public profession of Him as our personal Savior.

This is our first calling as Christian.  It is what makes us Christians.  We accept Christ as Savior and enter an entirely different realm of existence, for His Spirit indwells within us upon belief.  That is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Many of us may differ upon the numerous other things that transpire upon belief.  Some things are more inherent to our denominational traditions and beliefs rather than biblical facts. However, as believers, we all have a common faith with Christ as the head authority over us all.

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Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. – Colossians 3:11 (ESV)

. . . but Christ is all. . .

Essentially, Christ is all that way we need.

  • He Complements Us:  For all that we are, Christ is the perfect fit for who we need to become.  He is complementary to us in that He offers us something that makes us function better as people of faith.
  • He Confirms Us: Whatever we might doubt or be unsure about, He is our answer.  He gives us confirmation of what is expected of us and what we will not be condemned for despite of how guilty and unworthy we truly are in accordance to his laws, decrees and statutes.  Despite all of that, He still calls us His own, His flock, His dear children.
  • He Completes Us: We need only look to him to fill the emptiness in our lives.  The voids and flaws are no match for His perfection.  Where we have shortcomings and failures, He comes in and completes us.  He makes us whole.  With Him as the head, we are able to strive towards maturing to “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,” a perfect man (Ephesains 4:13, KJV).

. . . and in all

The all that we see here is one with a focus on the parts making up a whole, as in totality of each and every part coming together as one.  In essence, Paul said this in a few different ways.

To the Corinthians. . .

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. . . As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (12:14, 20, ESV)

To the Ephesians. . .

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith,one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (4:4-6, ESV)

To the Roman. . .

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (12:4-5, NASB)

Beyond the emphasis on the body of Christ as a whole made up of many members or parts, there is continual evidence of the Scriptures providing us with more confirmation of our unity in Christ.

There is logic and reasoning that may have some to say that this is too touchy and feels phony, but let’s step back for a moment and evaluate the entire concept with both wisdom and discernment.  Let us look objectively at how this is laid out in the Scriptures, in particular in the New Testament and especially in the letters to the churches.

Gnostics and others like the Hellenists have reason to give heed to their feelings.  They have their own rationale for why they accept the labels that mankind has placed upon the very things that were to be so simple that we have somehow complicated and almost perverted into something else.  It makes sense to some of these folks to embrace something other than what was meant to exist as among us.  Concepts like love, unity, joy and compassion become mere words, losing their strength as concepts for Christian living.  They do not carry the same value when action words lead to little or no action and the descriptive words and phrases no longer fit the description within the profile of a Christian.

So, if logic stands to reason, then we face a sad truth that our very reason for being in Christ is endangered as we try to make Christ make sense in accordance with our own human reasoning.

What is irrational becomes totally rational.  What makes little or no sense is all the more sensible.  What is seen as off beat and way out there becomes our personal mantra of faith, hope and peace.  After all, He is our peace.

 


There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galat
ians 3:28 (ESV)

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body–whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. – 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NIV)

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith – Galatians 3:26 (NIV)

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility – Ephesians 2:14 (NIV)

 

He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. – Colossians 1:28 (NIV)

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We see it in numerous examples in the Bible.  Lives projecting God-given drive and strength, tenacity and perseverance, are scattered throughout the Scriptures.

Men in the Bible who lived without regrets had to include Stephen as he was stoned to death as a faithful believer.  Paul must be on that list somewhere.  Men who may have made mistakes but like Job they faced adversity with faith.

There have to be some women on that list, too.  Mary carrying and birthing the Lord.  Martha giving birth to John after years of being barren.   Look at Gideon and Isaac’s mothers, even the mother of Samuel.  How about Esther and Rahab? They, too, had to be listed among the faithful who forged ahead in faith despite all that they had to face.

I want to live such a faithful and enduring life without any regrets.  I want to say that I laid aside every weight of the things that throw us off and get us down but ran my race with endurance.  I simply wish for such a life led by the lord that I live without regrets.

Take some time and read Hebrews 11, then read chapter 12:1-2.  See if your faith isn’t raised a bit.   See if you do not find yourself inspired to go a little further with your faith.

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Many of us have heard the rallying cry of “Carpe diem!” at some point in our daily walk.  The romance language of Latin seems to give off a hearty scent like that of uncorked wine or succulent roasted meats over a crackling fire as it urges and encourages each and every one of us to simply: Seize the day! Take it for all that it has to offer and give it your all today, for indeed today is the only opportunity that we have at hand.  Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has yet to arrive.

So how are you going about seizing the day?

Matthew chapter 6 offers us a whole lot of how-to knowledge for implementation as believers.  It runs down how we should pray, fast, give and other related to-do items for us.  Yet, this chapter ends with some glorious advice attached to a warning about worrying.  Jesus points out that the birds and flowers do not have closets, but the Lord feeds them and clothes them (v. 26, 28-29).  He even poses the question: Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (v. 27).  Jesus offers a simple warning based on biblical and ancient wisdom.  Worrying gets you nowhere and does little for you or your health, even your situation.

Worrying will not change:

  • Your Past: You did what you did and you have been through what you have been through in the past.  It is over.  You do not have to relive past mistakes and remain hostage to their haunting you daily or for a lifetime.  Get out of the past and live for today.
  • Your Possibilities: You can predict, prospect and project, but none of it is with any level of certainty.  The future is not promised.  The brother of the Lord, James said it best: Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:14-15, NIV).  Don’t bank or bet on the future because you may just vanish.
  • Your Present: No, contrary to popular belief, you cannot change your present circumstances or situation.  That is to say that you cannot control what happens to you.  You can control your own thoughts and actions, keeping your emotions in check.  However, you cannot alter that situations arise to: build us up, buffet us or break us down.

Today is here.  You have a chance to make the most of it,  Go and get what He has offered you for today as your “daily bread.” Seek the best of His blessings, and then seize them as you seize this very day.

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Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. – Amos 3:7 (NIV)

Israel was in a bad spot.

God had been speaking to them through the prophets.  He was sending messengers their way.  He sent them with His words of warning.  He sent them ahead of sending the people into captivity.

They did not listen.

It actually sounds familiar.

So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. – Exodus 6:9 (NKJV)

I will punish him, his family, and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring on them, on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the men of Judah all the doom that I have pronounced against them; but they did not heed – Jeremiah 36:31 (NKJV)

Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.- Matthew 13:58 (NKJV)

Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. – Mark 16:14 (NKJV)

I guess one way to look at it is that hard heads make for hard times.

You cannot hear from God’s message if you will not listen to His messenger.  It just will not work.  In order to get the message and grasp it, you first need to hear from the messenger.

After all, God has revealed it to the messenger first so that he can carry it to the people.

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“Just as Christ demonstrated God’s love, believers are to demonstrate to the world Christ’s love.” – Andrew Murray

Take a long, hard look at how we love others.  Look at how we love the “world.” Do we show love to others? Do we share our love with others? See if we are offering the love of Christ to people freely and unconditionally.

People learn about Christ from us as believers.  They see our lights shining in the midst of the storm and approach us, seeking safety and security.  What they discover is that we are not the true Light.  The Light is Jesus Christ.  We are merely to serve as reflections of the Light, so that others will come seeking out such a life in the glorious light.

Make today the day where you go forward with love.  Show your love towards others.  Share your love with others.  Let love serve as your purpose for interacting with others today.  You can love someone without expecting anything in return except that they come closer to seeing the Light.

Books for Showing the Greatest Love of All

 

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