The Law of Reaping and Sowing Holds True in Our Relationships
Have you ever had an experience with a person who had a condemnatory, fault-finding, supercilious attitude? The experience is unpleasant to say the least! On the other hand, have you spent time with someone who is charitable, generous hearted, and kind? What a blessing to be in the company of someone with that attitude!
Our Joy Should Not Be Based on External Circumstances
Have you ever made a purchase at the store and realized later that you were overcharged by several dollars? The happiness of the shopping excursion was soon replaced with frustration. Just as Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup, we often sell our happiness for a few dollars!
As much as we wish it wasn’t so, the truth is, all of us have a mean streak. The “works of the flesh” (our flesh) include “hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife” (Galatians 5:19–20). We all have flesh, our flesh is selfish, and the selfishness of our flesh often comes out in meanness.
7 Practical Ways to Keep Excitement Alive in Your Church
It is a blessing to visit a church that is alive, and it is disappointing to attend one that has no excitement. Activity and excitement alone do not constitute the making of a good church; however, a church with no plans and no vision will be filled with boredom and apathy.
Bitterness destroys lives, families, and churches. Left unattended, she inevitably spreads. On her playing field, nobody wins. Recognize her early. Deal with her seriously. She is dangerous. Extremely dangerous.
Every morning brings fresh opportunities—and fresh challenges. Sometimes the challenges seem to outweigh the opportunities. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the opportunities embedded in the challenges. Sometimes—with or without challenges or opportunities—it’s just a rough day.
Applying Philippians 4:8 to Our Relationships with Others
Paul loved the believers at Philippi and felt especially close to them. He wrote them about personal issues, and asked them to put aside their petty offenses and come together in unity: “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2).
Sometimes our disposition diminishes our position and invalidates in the hearer’s mind a truth that might have been supported quite well had we not presented it so recklessly. Here is some advice about how your argument can be strengthened, if indeed its truth is worth fighting for.
A Look at Jesus’ Description of Pharisees in Matthew 23
In our modern Christian vernacular the title Pharisee carries a markedly negative connotation, and rightfully so. In the days of Jesus, however, they were recognized as the most fastidiously observant religious leaders of the day. I suppose there exists some Pharisee in all of us, so it’s important to recognize their toxic attitudes and behaviors.
The Right Position and a Good Disposition Are Both Vitally Important for Spirit-Filled Ministry
In the home where I lived as a boy, there was a medicine cabinet that hung on the wall above the sink in the bathroom. That cabinet is where you would find the thermometer and antibiotic cream and other items that relate to health and sickness. In that cabinet were two small bottles that looked very similar.
In the midst of one of the greatest works for God in the Old Testament, Nehemiah reminded God’s people, “…the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Why the reminder? Because God’s people need joy, and one of Satan’s first line of attacks to weaken our hands in the work is to take our joy.
It’s not usually the great burdens of life that kill our joy. In fact, our joy often flourishes during these times because we are more likely to draw close to the Lord and experience His presence at a new level. What kills our joy are the subtle temptations that draw us from walking in the presence of God.
If there is one thing we should model as Christians, and particularly as Christian leaders, it is the joy of the Lord. God designed the Christian life to be an abundant life. The fruit of the Spirit is joy. Although joy should be the norm for Christian ministry, we can go days, weeks, or months operating in “joyless mode”—diligent in going through the motions but empty inside.
One of the dangers to which spiritual leaders are particularly susceptible is that we would teach the truths of God’s Word while exempting ourselves from those very truths. Take, for instance, the lawyer in Luke 10 who asked Christ how to inherit eternal life. Contrary to face value, this question was not a “What must I do to be saved?” kind of question. It was a trap.
Keeping the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace
Ephesians 4:1-3 is one of the most convicting passages to me, because I am guilty of causing a stir more times than I am guilty of stirring the cause. And if I’m honest, it is often rooted in my pride. “Only by pride,” the Scriptures teach us, “cometh contention;” and most of the time, that pride comes from me.
You Will Joyfully Serve the One You Give Your Heart To
I recently read the book Marion and His Men written by John De Morgan in 1802. It is the story of American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, who was also known as “The Swamp Fox.” Marion both made his mark on the Revolutionary War and earned his moniker by his fighting tactics.
Christian discipleship is a vital subject in the New Testament, and the book of Luke is a fine source of information about it. In chapter 9, the call to discipleship is given and explained in verses 23 and 24 (as it is also in Matthew 16:24–25 and Mark 8:34–35), but then, beginning in verse 37, several serious problems that true disciples of Jesus Christ have are discussed.