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Showing posts from July 29, 2012

Faithfulness

Who do you know that is faithful? It seems that persons around us that might fit that description are often revealed to be less than faithful and that is a discouragement to us who have lifted them up. But here’s the best news that any of us could ever hear, “God is faithful, who has call you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9) This is emphasized powerfully in the original Greek language by the word “faithful” being placed first in the sentence…”Faithful is God.”

Paul states this at the beginning of the book of Corinthians to establish a plumb line by which to measure the people of Corinth and also encourage them in light of their condition. They were unfaithful in many ways; dividing, selfish, permissive, disputing in lawsuits, immoral, idolatrous, picky, and disorderly to mention just a few. But God was faithful to them.

Paul knew his letter would challenge them and wanted them to know that God would never forsake them. His faithfulness means that …

Wise and Innocent

The church can be a wonderful place where love is assured and favoritism is not felt but because our old natures are sinful there is always the possibility for evil to rise up and destroy the good that is going on there. So, a challenge to purity is always necessary. As Paul was finishing the letter to the Romans, he sent many greetings to various people who were positive influences in the church at Rome. But he also warned of those who could cause divisions and create stumbling blocks that would be contrary to right teaching. He praised the church’s obedience but also challenged them “to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” (Romans 16:19)

The terms “wise” and “innocent” are used to emphasize the need for alertness and discernment with relation to the craftiness of false teachers. “Wise” is following what is good and “innocent” is staying immune to teachings that would be contrary. We can identify a counterfeit dollar only by knowing what a real dollar looks and…

Confident?

Who can you trust to aid you in difficult times? When you are lonely and afflicted who is it that comforts you? We all pass through these times and seek help in them. King David had as many difficulties as he had blessings in his forty years as king. His battles with Saul, multiple enemies, struggles with his own family and friends gained for him an experiential understanding that he could always trust the hand of God. He often asked God to “guard my life and rescue me” and took refuge in God. (Psalm 25:20)
His request for protection was based on God’s integrity and uprightness. (Psalm 25:21) These two attributes acted like a shield for David when his hope was in God. They are God’s purity and perfection and cause His judgment of each human situation to be always just and equal. God is not swayed by a bribe or emotion or any human gratification. The presence of these two then bolstered the confidence of David to trust God.
You and I cannot depend on the persons around us to have integri…

Living Out Christ's Image

I have spoken often about the challenge of Romans 8:29 to be “conformed to the likeness [image] of his son.” This conformity to Christ seems to be a central truth that is not much explained, even though often quoted and referenced. In Romans 15 we find two references to the actions of Christ. These actions Paul is challenging us to imitate, in line with the “conformity” challenge of 8:29.

One is that Christ did not please himself but subjugated his self-gratification in order to help those who were “weak,” (Romans 15:3) which is really all of us as he died for all humanity. He took upon himself the insults of those who insult. He did this to example endurance and so that we might find encouragement in the Scriptures to the end of hope bubbling inside us. To be always yielding to selfish desires is not to be conforming to his image but to seek to please others shows the development of his image in us.

Two is that Christ is seen in us when we “accept one another, then, just as Christ accep…

Cleaning Up

Spring cleaning is done to remove items from the house that are no longer useful. When was the last time that you purposely cleaned something out of your life that you knew was wrong? King Hezekiah as a 25 year old on the first day of his reign commanded the Levites and priests to consecrate themselves and the Temple. He told them to “remove all defilement from the sanctuary.” 2 Chronicles 29:5
“They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month they reached the portico of the Lord. For eight more days they consecrated the temple of the Lord itself, finishing on the sixteenth day of the first month.” 2 Chronicles 29 17 Hezekiah’s command to purify the Temple took sixteen days and there was a pile of junk that was removed and destroyed.
As a believer, the Holy Spirit abides today in your “temple,” otherwise known as your body (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19) The purifying of your body, mind and soul so that it can be consecrated to God will take…

Instruction in Respect

What is a determining factor in the success of a believer? We find some indication that it has to do with the respect and reverence a person has toward God. “He [Uzziah] sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (2Chronicles 26:5)
Uzziah began to reign at the age of 16 and reigned for 52 years which is longer than Saul, David or Solomon reigned. It seems that his mentor Zechariah and his particular instruction “in the fear of God” gets a lot of the credit for his longevity. Zechariah made a huge difference in Uzziah’s life as he drew him to honor, respect and reverence God.
Could we apply this idea of instructing our children in how to reverence and rely on God as a way to give them more of an opportunity for a successful life? I think so. Reverence and respect for God is a disappearing activity. His name is taken in vain, His Word is downgraded by liberal theologians, His miracles go unnoticed, …

Attitude Adjustment

Nations have debt crises, ethnic groups battle for supremacy, the moral fiber of humanity is corroding, and what about you…are you stable, consistent, dependable? What should be our attitude as we face a world that is spinning out of control?
In verse 12 of Romans 12 there are three “suggestions’ given us by the writer when he says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Okay, so how will this be of help to me and how can I even do this?
To be “joyful in hope” seems counterintuitive. If you have hope, why wouldn’t you be joyful? But we know that you can have hope but also be cynical, critical, and impatient. That disturbs the “joyful” part. The future is unknowable by anyone but we can know some of it by the glimpses of it in the Word of God. We are also connected to the creator, sustainer, and the “renewer” of the world. So, with this link we can overpower the negative feelings in our flesh and be joyful in our spirit about hope in God and His future for us.
To …