Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Watch Your Step

12 November

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  Do everything in love. (1 Co 16:13–14; NIV)

In May 1995, Randy Reid, a 34-year-old construction worker, was welding on top of a nearly completed water tower outside Chicago.  According to writer Melissa Ramsdell, Reid unhooked his safety gear to reach for some pipes when a metal cage slipped and bumped the scaffolding he stood on.  The scaffolding tipped, and Reid lost his balance.  He fell 110 feet, landing face down on a pile of dirt, just missing rocks and construction debris.  A fellow worker called 911.  When paramedics arrived, they found Reid conscious, moving, and complaining of a sore back.  Apparently the fall didn't cost Reid his sense of humor.  As paramedics carried him on a backboard to the ambulance, Reid had one request: " Don't drop me."  (Doctors later said Reid came away from the accident with just a bruised lung.) . Sometimes we resemble that construction worker.  God protects us from harm in a 110-foot fall, but we're still nervous about three-foot heights.  The God who saved us from hell and death can protect us from the smaller dangers we face this week. (Citation: Greg Asimakoupoulos, Naperville, Illinois.  Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 4)

Paul's words to the Corinthians are just as relevant today.  We have to be on our guard.  From what you might ask,  from the things of this world that would like to trap us.  When I was growing up in Michigan, I spent a lot of time running around with an uncle that was my age.  We would walk through forests and along streams, mostly just looking for trouble to get into. 

During certain times of the year, we would have to be on our guard.  We would slowly walk along the stream banks, watching our steps as we were looking for traps set by trappers.  These traps are not something you want to walk on, so we were on the watch for them.  The same is true of the world in which we live.  There are traps all around us that Satan has set, just waiting for an unsuspecting person.  That doesn't mean we should walk around in fear because Paul goes on to say, "stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong."  We can stand firm because we know that no matter what Satan throws our way, God can take care of.  We need to remember, God is in control; always has been and always will be.  And our time on earth is really very short when compared to the eternity that we will spend with our Lord and Savior.  So take courage and be strong, stand firm in the faith because what God has promised, He will see through till completion, and He promised He will protect us from all harm, whether a fall or a trip.  He will be there to catch us.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Hope in the Living God

11 November

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.  That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.  (1 Ti 4:9–10; NIV)

People put their hope in many different things; cars, jobs, countries, relationships, and even other people.  The problem is that cars break down, jobs are lost, the leaders of the countries can change their opinions.  There is one we can put our hope in who never changes; the living God.

Since the day Adam fell from grace, God has been trying to bring us back to himself, and in this, he has never changed.  God is the savior of all mankind, and he calls us all, makes no difference if we are red, yellow, black, or white, rich, poor, slave, or free.

God wants us to love one another and to love him, to commune with him, to worship and put our trust and faith in him, and to put all of our hopes in him.  I have tried putting my hopes in many different things in my life, but the one that has never failed me is when I put my hope in my heavenly Father, my Savior, the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  He has always been there for me and always will be.


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Increasing Love

9 November

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.  (1 Th 3:12; NIV)

Love is one of those amazing things that just keeps growing and growing.  This is very easily seen in families.  When we young and live at home, we love our parents as well as our brothers and sisters.  Then that person who catches our eye and our heart come into our lives, and the love grows to include them as well as our family.  Some are blessed to have children come into the picture, and love increases to include them.  No one gets any less love as the number of people increases, love just multiplies to include the next person.  There is a song that Sherry Lewis and Lambchop do (if you don't know who they are, check with your parents or grandparents, or better yet pull them up on YouTube.com) called, "The Song That Never Ends."  Well, that's love, it "does not end, it goes on and on my friend."

 As Christians, we should be able to show others what love is all about.  It is not in limited supply, and it should be shared with everyone we come in contact with.  The more we share with others, the more they may share, and that wouldn't be so bad, would it?

Friday, November 8, 2019

Gifts

8 November

Since you are eager to have the gifts of the Spirit, you must try above everything else to make greater use of those which help to build up the church.  (1 Co 14:12; GNT)

We live in a time where we are told and even encouraged to live for ourselves, do everything to make our lives easier and forget the other person.  Paul tells us to do something different.  The people of Corinth were much like people today.  They knew that certain gifts fo the Spirit would make them look good if used in front of others.  Paul says that these gifts are great but as the body of Christ, all working for the good of him who saved us, we should make greater use of those gifts which help to build up the church.

So, what kind of gifts are included here which can build up the church?  How about the gift of giving (time and money), the gift of praying for others, the gift of encouragement, the gift of prophecy (I'm not talking about "psychic-hotline" but about instructing others).  The list of gifts of the Holy Spirit goes on and on but we should make greater use of the ones that build up the church.  Those gifts that put others ahead of ourselves after all that is the way Jesus would do it.  So, take some time to think about the gifts you have and the way they can be used to help others.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

One Body

5 November

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  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 Co 12:12–13; NIV)

For some, the idea of one body is hard to understand, especially when we see other denominations also claiming to be Christian.  There are Methodists, Baptists, Christians, Nazarenes, Wesleyans, and you get the idea.  How can there be so many different denominations all claiming to be members of the body of Christ?  Think about this, if you were to ask people in your town what their nationalities were, you would get some answers like this; I'm an American, Native-American, African-American, German-American, and the list goes on.  Did you notice they all include the name American?  Even though we all come from different places in the beginning (like the many parts), we all make up one country.

In the same way, even though we come from different denominations, we are brought together under one title to become one body, and that title is Christian.  Though we look at each other as being different, we were all given the same Spirit to share in and with others.  So maybe we should start looking at others as being part of our body, the body of Christ.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Discipline

4 November

Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.  (1 Co 11:32; NIV)

When I was younger I used to get disciplined (A LOT), and at the time, I never thought it was for a very good reason.  As I got older, some of the things my parents used to say while disciplining me came back to haunt me as I used the same words while disciplining my boys.  One of those sayings that used to come up was the one that went something like this, "This is going to hurt me more than it will you."  Well, I don't ever remember anyone with tears in their eyes except me.  Thinking more about it, the hurt is sometimes more than physical pain; its called emotional pain, and it can hurt more than any swat I ever received.  Sometimes even now, I have to be disciplined (can you imagine), not by parents but by my Lord.  There are times when I say or do something that I really should not have done, and my heavenly Father lets me know about it.  By placing a conviction on my heart, I know I have been disciplined and that it was done out of love.  You see, God does not like to discipline, but when it comes to the salvation of his children, he will correct them so that they will not be judged with the rest of the world.  This is one time when the phrase, "This is going to hurt me more than it will you," when our heavenly Father says it before disciplining us.



Saturday, November 2, 2019

You Want Me To Speak?

2 November

But Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been a skilled speaker.  Even now, after talking to you, I cannot speak well. I speak slowly and can’t find the best words.”  Then the LORD said to him, “Who made a person’s mouth? And who makes someone deaf or not able to speak? Or who gives a person sight or blindness? It is I, the LORD.   Now go! I will help you speak, and I will teach you what to say.”  (Ex 4:10–12; NCV)

Have you ever known someone to say something along the lines as Moses?  Maybe they said something like,  "Oh no Lord, I know you're not talking to me.  I can't speak for you, I don't know what to say.  Let the pastor do it; he knows all the right words to say, but don't ask me to do it."  Maybe you've said it yourself, I know I did. 

So why do we cut God short?   We trust him to do many wonderful things in our lives, and we even ask him to help us, knowing that he will.  We ask him to heal us, protect us, help us with our problems, and the list goes on, so why do we think he would not help us speak on his behalf?  Isn't it funny that for many Christians it's easier to accept that God created mankind and everything about him, but hard for us to believe he would come to our rescue and fill our mouths with words that glorify him?

I, for one, am terrified about being in front of people and opening my mouth.  Some time ago, Jonie and I were asked to show about 15 people the hand motions to a song.  It was like pulling teeth getting me in front of those 15 people; I was scared stiff.  On the other hand, let me tell someone about the love of Jesus, even if it means getting up in front of hundreds of people, the Holy Spirit will give me all the courage in the world and more importantly he will provide me with the words to say.

We need to trust that God will provide us the right words to say and also help us to overcome the temptation to do it ourselves or worse yet not do it at all.  So, speak out on behalf of the Master and remember we are never speaking alone, he is with us.