Friday, October 20, 2017

Ten Little Christians ...

We must all realize what one peer can do or undo …

10 Little Christians standing in line, 1 disliked the Preacher, then there were 9
9 little Christians stayed up very late, 1 overslept on Sunday, then there were 8
8 little Christians on their way to Heaven, 1 took the Low Road and then there were 7
7 little Christians Chirping like Chicks, 1 disliked the music, then there were 6
6 little Christians seemed very much Alive, but one lost His Interest and then there was 5
5 little Christians pulling for Heaven's Shore, but one stopped to Rest and then there
were 4
4 little Christians each Busy as a Bee, 1 got His Feelings Hurt and then there were 3
3 little Christians knew not what to do, 1 joined the Sporty Crowd, then there were 2
2 little Christians, our Rhyme is nearly done, differed with each other, then there was 1

1 little Christian can't do much 'tis true, but that one brought his friend to a bible study - - then there were 2

2 Earnest Christians, each won one more, that doubled the number, then there were 4
4 Sincere Christians worked early and late, each won another then there were 8
8 Splendid Christians if they doubled as before, in just so many Sundays, they'd soon have 1,024

In this little jingle, there is a lesson so true, you belong either to the building or to the wrecking crew!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What and When ...

Most of the difficulties that we encounter with other people stem from small potato issues!

Most of those small potato situations are matters of personality, style or preference that remind us just how unique each of us really are. You know how this looks: Somebody has an idea that is different from yours, or does things in a way that you would not do them, or has a different priority from yours and yikes, the friction begins! Are those matters really worth the battle?

Could it be that some of us need to learn to let people be who they are and quit trying to force them into our mold?

There are people in this neighborhood who do not know Jesus and are thus, on their way to hell. Now is the time to paint ourselves purple as peers. Are some of the silly battles that you are fighting worth all of that wasted energy? In light of our world coming to an end more quickly than some of us might realize, let us all keep the main thing the main thing.

Proverbs 10:32 is more than just another proverb. Proverbs 10:32 is the standard for a Spirit filled Christian, “The lips of the righteous know what is fitting…” In other words, a follower of Jesus knows what to say and when to say it.

Church … in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Anyone ...

Usually, people who are not easy to live with or to be around do not have an issue with you or I as much as they have an issue with themselves.

When a person does not like him or herself in here, you will come to realize it quickly by what comes out of here! Hurting people hurt people! Problems within people usually lead to problems among people. That is exactly what Jesus is saying in Luke 6:43-45, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

The best thing that we can do when interacting with people who might not like themselves is to try and put ourselves in their place and understand the pressures that they are under and then in turn: give them a break. In that instance, we are not condoning or excusing their bad behavior, but instead, we are reacting calmly to their bad fruit.

We do not judge, or condemn, or make fun of, or look down on or turn up our nose to, but instead, we extend extra grace because that is what we would want in return.

Followers of Jesus: We must look into people as well as at them. Is it easy? No way! Is it what Jesus wants from us? Yes! Anyone can retaliate. Only followers of Jesus demonstrate what it look like to turn the other cheek.

Now is the time to paint ourselves purple as peers.

Monday, October 16, 2017

People ...

Last week, I found this quote, “The more I get to know people, the more I love my dog.” At first I laughed. Then, I grew concerned! Why is that? Well, that sentiment should never be true within the Family of God.

Acts 6:1 tells us that, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing …”

God gave that very first church a multiplication challenge! God had stopped adding people to His church and now, He was multiplying people to His church. Three thousand men were added to the church on the Day of Pentecost. Another five thousand men were added shortly thereafter. Add to that their wives, children and other family members, and you can see that the church was growing by leaps and bounds. It is estimated that the very first church in Jerusalem … at that time … numbered 50,000 people.

However, a conflict was brewing because there were more people! More people brought about a challenge.

Our church is growing. God is adding to our number on a monthly basis. In the midst of more people, we must be ready for the people challenges that will come with our own church growth!

For over a year now, I have watched us become or continue to be peers, friends, allies and cohorts, but the more people God gives us, the more opportunities we will acquire to show extra grace to each other because laymen get extremely busy serving in a growing church and that service causes fatigue and that fatigue sometimes causes irritability … … and then, when you add in all of the new personalities that join our fellowship that will require extra grace, multiplication challenges will arise.

Just because we are unified does not mean that there will not be those days when it takes extra grace to co-exist with each other. 

Here is the truth! All of us must learn to live with other people because other people are not going away any time soon.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Self Righteousness

John 11:46 is interesting, “Some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.”

I want us to focus in on the group referred to as, “some of them.” Some of them had just observed Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead. Some of them were a part of the group that followed Jesus as He traveled from town to town. Some of them were so very close to kingdom things, yet they were not fully attached nor fully committed to the Lord. Why were they so stubborn? Why were their hearts so hard as well as their heads? Could it be that they were preoccupied with self?

Some of them saw their tattletale efforts as a way to promote themselves with the Sanhedrin.

Here is the meat! None of us have the juice that we need to paint ourselves purple when we wasting our energies promoting self.

Can we talk for just a second about self-righteousness?

The definition of self-righteousness is this: convinced of one's own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others. In other words being pleased with self by be displeased with others. Folks, Jesus -- and His Cross -- are the only entities that are truly worthy of exaltation! We must glory in the cross, not in our own limited abilities and not in the mistakes and frailties of others. Plainly said, “No matter what our moms might say, you and I are not any better than anyone else and to think in such a way is wrong.” At the foot of the cross, we are all equal. Let us think about our attitudes. Are we sometimes smug or intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others? Do we always have to be right? Folks, you do not have to be right all of the time. The only thing that you have to do all of the time, is be like Jesus. Are we quick to judge others because we seem to know more than those around us? Are we quick to belittle others? Are we quick to find fault?

Jesus speaks to this subject in Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Did you notice that the focus of self-righteousness is self?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Revenge ...

A huge grizzly bear was in the center of a clearing feeding on some discarded camp food. For several minutes, he feasted alone – no other creature dared draw near. After a few moments, a skunk walked up and began to feast as well. The bear did not object to the skunk eating his food and I think that we all know why. The grizzly bear knew the high cost of getting even.

We would be wise to learn the same.

Settling the score is done at great expense. Have you ever noticed that in the old western movies, the bounty hunter travels alone? Why is that? Because no one wants to hang out with a person who settles the score for a living. That is such a huge thought for anyone with a mind and an itch to paint themselves purple. You cannot share Jesus with someone if that someone desires to be close to someone else because being close to you feels unhealthy and dysfunctional in the sense that you are constantly preoccupied with getting even. Someone must want to hang out with you for that someone to hear about Jesus from you.

Do you sometimes wonder why someone does not want to hang out with you? Could it be that you are preoccupied with revenge?

Is it any wonder why Job writes this in Job 5:2, "To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do." (The Living Bible)

God is asking us to paint ourselves purple. We cannot do that when we are preoccupied with revenge.

Monday, October 09, 2017

A Life Changing Post ...

Deuteronomy 17:18-20 intrigues me, “When (the King) takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left.”

The Lord instructed the King to make a copy of the law – aka the Scriptures. He was told to keep the Scriptures at his side at all times and to study it every day. Who knows? Maybe he even slept with it.

I have no idea how long it took the King to copy the Scriptures, but here is my question: why copy it? He was the king. He was busy. He had servants. Why not let someone else copy the Scripture for him? Why did God insist that the King copy the Scripture? Well, I am so glad that you asked! When a person writes something down, it helps that person remember what they have just read. It is one thing to read (or hear) something, but words become a part of us when we write those words down.

Let us all start literally copying the Bible longhand ... TOGETHER! (WHY NOT THE BOOK OF JAMES!)  I look forward to hearing from you ... ...

The King was told to keep the Scriptures at his side at all times. If we interpret that literally, then he ate with it, rode with it, slept with it, fought with it, and ruled with it.

Starting today, this Bible goes with me everywhere. What about you?

Who really wants to be preoccupied with God and His word and who just wants to talk about being preoccupied with God and His word … …