Sunday, October 31, 2021

God’s Got This

Sunday, October 31, 2021

God’s Got This

Psalm 56:1-13

Where do you go when your life is being tormented by so many enemies?  In the book of Psalms, we can learn from David’s battles with many foes. Every time he went to the only one who could help 
him - God. 

Fear and Faith Coexist Psalms 56:3-4

·  The one antagonist of fear is faith. Trust, however, is a voluntary action for which we are responsible.

·  We have little power of directly controlling fear or any other feeling, but we can determine the objects on which we fix our attention.

Principles of Healing

·  God has principles that apply across the three parts of our lives – Body – Soul – Spirit.

Steps To Heal A Physical Wound

·  Recognize the severity of the wound.

·  Take action to stop the bleeding.

·  Cleanse the wound.

·  Protect the wound.

·  Treat the wound until healed.

·  Realize that the wound heals from the inside out.

How Do We Deal With Soul or Emotional Wounds and Spiritual Wounds? 

Steps To Heal A Soul Wound

·  You can often identify the depth of a wound of the soul by how much it consumes your thoughts.  

·  Answer the cry of your soul.  

·  Honesty about our feelings releases many stressors.  

·  Emotional wounds untreated lead to damage in life as anger turns to hate, and hate to bitterness, and many get hurt. 

·  Create boundaries to keep the wound from being reopened or damaged further. 

·  Learn the power of forgiveness!  

Steps To Heal A Spiritual Wound

·  Is this a onetime ethical failure or a moral character problem?

·  Admit more than you are a sinner, admit the sin.

·  Only confession and repentance purge the heart and make you clean before God.

·  Sin can be forgiven in a single act, but sanctification requires much more.  

God Is Aware Of Our Every Need Psalms 56:8-11

·  When I know that God knows, there is nothing else I need to know

·  When you are trapped in fear, the way out is faith in a God bigger than any life problem.  

Our God Delivers Psalms 56:12-13

·  Every fear about the circumstances of life and our future are destroyed when our vision is focused on the God of love and compassion.

Friday, October 29, 2021

The One Thing You Are Searching For

Friday, October 29, 2021 

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. Philippians 4:11-12

The One Thing You Are Searching For

The dictionary defines contentment as being “easy of mind, to be free from worry, from guilt, to be satisfied.” It is a beautiful place to be, but it seems so hard to find.  How content are you? There are surely some who seem to have all the pieces of contentment — career, health, family, wealth — but are still profoundly discontent.  

Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., observes that our society is marked by “inextinguishable discontent.” Our quest is “what is better and what is next.” We want a better job with better pay and a better boss.  We want better relationships, a better car and a better backhand in tennis or a longer drive in golf. 

We have a propensity to live endlessly for the next thing — the next weekend, the next vacation, the next purchase, and the next experience. We are never satisfied, never content, and envious of those who have what we have not attained or accumulated.

Here is an amazing truth. The Bible is saying that whether you have enough money or not, whether you have abundance or are in very strained circumstances, you can still have contentment because the secret of contentment is not in what you have or don't have. 

Contentment is a Heart Matter  
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 1Timothy 6:6-8

Contentment is an INTERNAL disposition.

Contentment isn’t denying our feelings about wanting and desiring what we can’t have, but instead it exhibits a freedom from being controlled by those feelings.  It is not just self-denial.

Contentment isn’t pretending things are right when they are not, but instead it displays the peace that comes from knowing that God is bigger than any problems and that he works them all out for our good. 

Contentment isn’t a feeling of well-being contingent on keeping circumstances under control, but instead it promotes a joy in spite of circumstances, looking to God who never varies. 

Contentment is not based on external circumstances, but rather on an internal source. Contentment is of the heart.

Contentment is a matter of accepting from God’s hand what He sends because we know that He is a good God and wants to give good gifts to his children.  We WILLINGLY accept from God’s hand that which he gives.  All that is needful He will supply.  In other words, contentment and joy must be sought within us.  No amount of money or possessions will bring us the state of joy and peace that is contentment.  No, true contentment comes from within. As a matter of fact, too much of anything brings stress in our life.  I think most of us believe that.   

In the following days, we will take a look at the Secret of Contentment.  For today, observe your spirit and the spirits of those around you.  Is anybody really content or are they still searching for that something they think will bring them the peace of contentment?

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19

Thursday, October 28, 2021

God’s Prescription For Anxiousness

 Thursday, October 28, 2021 Some material taken from Living Worthy of the Gospel Part 3

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:6-9

God’s Prescription For Anxiousness 

In verses 6-9 of Philippians Chapter 4, Paul pretty much gives us a bullet list of how we can live out our faith in the middle of stress, chaos, a pandemic, or like him, prison. Pastor Sam told us Sunday that Paul gives us three steps in his prescription for peace: 

Step one - pray and watch God’s peace surpass your understanding and guard your heart and mind.

Do not be anxious about anything: Paul starts off with what is likely the first thing we feel when our world gets crazy – anxiousness. Many struggle with anxiousness on a daily basis. It can really rob us of joy in life. Here Paul is telling us – this is not our business. God alone is the one who can handle all things and the things that most often make us anxious are the things we cannont control. This is God’s place, not ours. 

But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God: What can we pray about? Everything. There is nothing that is off limits or of no concern to God. He cares about everything that we care about. Paul uses both prayer and supplication here because supplication is asking God to do something. Paul tells that God wants us to tell Him what we want – let your requests be made known to God. Don’t forget the with thanksgiving part. If we can be totally at peace in trusting God with all we bring befofe Him, we have nothing to be anxious about. God invites us to ask Him anything, but with a heart of thanksgiving for whatever the outcome is. He asks us to trust Him and His soverignty. He asks us to lay it down and let it go. 

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus: This peace we get from God – it is more than we can fathom and beyond our understanding. This peace becomes a guard over our hearts and minds. This peace which surpasses all understanding is a protective shield around our hearts and minds that keeps them at peace – the peace of God – no matter what is going on around us. 

Step two, think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or anything worthy of praise.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things: This is how we keep God’s peace, we meditate on Him and the things that are glorifying to Him. If we fill our minds with the things of this world we no doubt will be consumed with anxiousness. Just spending too much time on social media scrolling, even if we don’t listen to the news, will have a negative affect on us. If we aren’t fearful because of what we read, we feel like a failure because our lives don’t look like what everyone else is posting. If we aren’t anxious about what we see that may or may not be true about the world, we fall into the comparison trap which also makes us anxious – about ourselves, our homes, our children, our marriage, even our pets. 

Step three: practice all that you have heard and exemplified by Paul, and the God of peace will be with you.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you: No matter how crazy the world is or how terrible our circumstances are at times, if we bring everything before Him in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, we can have this peace that passes any earthly understanding. We have this promise of this protection around our hearts and minds. When we make these steps a part of our lives every day, we truly can be anxious for nothing.


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Even When...Rejoice in the Lord

 Wednesday, October 27, 2021 Some material taken from Living Worthy of the Gospel Part 3

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord…Philippians 3:1a

Even When...Rejoice in the Lord

Paul is in a Roman prison when he writes these words and I don’t know about you, but to me, it is hard to imagine that we would have the same response if we were the ones in prison. It seems like, in those circumstances, that it would be really hard to keep the faith, but Paul does, and he gives us some of the best advice for living worthy from the depths of a dungeon. This rejoicing Paul speaks of, is to be in the Lord, not from anything else.

Rejoice in the Lord – despite your circumstances… 

Pastor Sam told us Sunday that maturing believers rejoice in the Lord, not in their circumstances. As mature believers, meaning we have a relationship with the Lord and we have grown in that relationship and in the knowledge of Him over time, we should have a different response to our unstable circumstances around us. Our unstable circumstances can really make us feel a lot of anxiety, fear, and hopelessness. But if we have a relationship with the Lord, we know Him, and if we know Him, we know what kind of a God He is. We know He is faithful. We know He is sovereign and in control. We know He is more than capable of handling our circumstances. We know He keep His promises.  

A change in circumstances shouldn’t be what changes the attitude of the believer. 

There is so much danger in placing our trust in our circumstances, because they will always disappoint us and will often crush us if we let them. They can make us feel safe and comfortable and good for a while, but they don’t stay that way. Circumstances can shift in an instant and our joy and safety and happiness and strength cannot be dependant on something so temporary. There is no stability in our earthly circumstances. There is only stabiblity in our heavenly circumstances. God is sovereign and eternal – the same yesterday, today, and forever. There is stability in Him alone – not in any person, future goals, bank accounts, health, or any amount of earthly possessions we own. This is where we can find peace, safety, stability and hope – not in our circumstances. Our circumstances can rob us of everything but this - nothing can ever take away our salvation and identity in Christ. 

We try to look for something outside of ourselves – in our circumstances, in food, in shopping, in drugs, in exercise, etc.- that simply cannot be found where we are looking. We cannot create something on the outside that only comes from something on the inside – the joy of the Lord, from a relationship with the Lord. We cannot replicate this anywhere else, but we spend a lot of time and effort trying to do just that.

Rejoice in the Lord – not who or what you used to be…

Paul was a very accomplished person. He had a past full of accomplishments that were very impressive. He tells us this so we know that he understands. It is hard not to live in the past – the glory days. But what we once were, no matter how impressive, is nothing compared to what we are in Christ. A lot of Paul’s credentials were equivalent to being in church every week, or reading the Bible everyday, or all the way through five times, or being the model neighbor, son or daughter. But even being the model Christian cannot be compared to knowing Christ and the joy we find in Him.  

Paul’s message was clear – nothing in our past or our present will give us the joy that the Lord can and we should not be looking anywhere but to Him to fill that desire. 


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

How to Help a Grieving Child

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 Submitted by Donna Lindquist 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7

How to Help a Grieving Child

When a child hears about a death of a person, they may become anxious about their own parents dying and want to ask questions.  If a child experiences the personal loss of a parent or sibling, it can be overwhelming, and you may require some extra family or pastoral care. 

First, it is important to remember that children are concrete learners and handle grief differently than adults.  You may see evidence of grief, like denial or anger, but children tend to exhibit two main feelings:  insecurity and sorrow.

Insecurity is fearful anxiety that occurs when we feel threatened or unsafe and this can be different for each child.  One may have loud outburst, while another may become withdrawn or hide, especially in large gatherings. While others may not want to be alone or have a physical response like a stomachache.

Responding to insecurity:

1.     Reassure your child of your love and care often.  During a time of sorrow, children need encouraging words of affirmation and love several times a day. Some parents have a special way to say, “see you later”, like throwing kisses, or a hip-bump.  Others have a special book they read at bedtime, or song or prayer. Developing a way of showing your care can last for years and be very special to you and your child.  My mom read and quoted many scriptures to me as a child, and I did the same with my boys. One verse from Psalm 91:11 became a favorite and we still say it over them today.  “For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.”  

2.     Keep to the child’s routine as much as possible.  Children rely on a basic routine of their day to feel secure.  So, when their daily routine suddenly alters, you may see some behavior concerns or frustration.  When grief is involved, their routine may be forever altered, so, if possible, create a daily plan, or talk to them about upcoming changes.  Keep the discussion simple and direct but reassuring them that you are there to help them adjust.  Skipping practices for a few weeks, will be okay, but the physical care of your child must be the number one priority.  Regular meals, sleep, exercise, and cleanliness are challenging during the grieving process, but are essential in creating a sense of protection.    

3.     Allow family members and friends to assist you in caring for your child.  During a sorrowful or anxious time, families come together to share their pain.  Having others around may ease your child’s anxiety creating a more secure environment, and these trusted adults are a necessary support for you and your child.  Having extended family or dependable people you can call can be a huge reassurance to your child of God’s provision in your life and will help you progress through this challenging time.

4.     Talk about the future.  As much as we hate to realize it, life does go on, and your child needs to feel confident in what is ahead.  Talking about what is coming up with your child provides a hope and purpose and bring comfort to your child and others.  Thinking about their birthday, or Christmas or what they want to be when they are grown reassures them of God’s protection.  A child may need assistance to visualize into the time ahead without a loved one and this can be challenging, but in time and taking it slowly, most children respond with resiliency.   

Sorrow is a combination of emotions defined by a tragic personal loss which can be physically and emotionally debilitating.  Physical signs may include a headache, stomachache, fatigue, disorientation and emotional concerns like excessive crying, anger, detachment, anxieties and others.  For children, this can include any combination of these emotions, and can be overwhelming for a family during the grieving process.

Responding to sorrow:

1.     Tears are nature’s method of healing.  Children cry over many things, but when death enters their world, they shed a unique kind of tears.  This sudden, intense, emotional reaction to severe pain or trauma is grieving, or mourning.  For a child, grieving can last a long time and it is important to allow time to cry and be sad.  Parental attachment may seem more excessive for a while, but to the child it is necessary, to overcome their sense of anxiety. Unfortunately, sadness is a part of the world we live in, but tears are healthy and God’s way of cleansing the soul.  Romans 12:15 tells us to mourn with those who are mourning, and so being empathic to others is essential in responding to their sorrow.


2.     Be truthful with your child about loss. Many parents may want to shelter their child from the pain and heartache of loss which may not be helpful but bring about more questions and frustration.  Children do not need all the details but need to know what has happened to their family member or friend.  Your child’s concept of death will be based on what they hear and see in the weeks ahead, so be truthful and open to their questions.  If this is their first experience with a funeral or memorial service, then be prepared for how they may respond emotionally. 


3.     Remember and press on.  During the grieving process, children may need a way to remember their loved one or friend.  Remembering the person can be as simple as singing their favorite song or baking their favorite dessert.  However, another important piece in responding to sorrow is going to visit or take flowers to their grave.  When my sister passed away suddenly, visiting her grave eased the pain and helped me process my grief, and years later, I still drive by and sit and talk to her.  Remembering the person allows us to move forward and yet reminds us of their significance in our lives. 


Remind your child that God is our refuge and protection during a time of loss, and He is close to those who are brokenhearted.  Also remember that love casts out all fear, and so spend time with your child reminding him of God’s love for your family. 

For your grieving child, nothing is better than feeling your arms embracing them and comforting their pain.  Just like an open wound, some require more than a hug; Some hurts need time to heal, and a little more attention to fully recover.  When a child senses your intuitive heart, they will become more willing to share their feelings and hurts and respond to their sorrow in a healthy way.  


Monday, October 25, 2021

The Secret of True Joy

Monday, October 25, 2021

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

The Secret of True Joy
Believe it or not, one of the greatest experiences of joy we can know is not related to what we can receive but what we can give.  There is no experience that matches being used by God to perform His will.  Many have realized the ecstatic feeling of being a vessel of God to someone in need or the voice of God in comfort.

It does not take long to realize we need the power of Christ to be able to live the Christian life, obey Christ, or serve others.  When serving in His power and wisdom we experience a strange phenomenon.  It is as if we are not in control of what is happening.  There is energy beyond our resource and wisdom from above.  It comes, when we lay down our selfishness and start serving others in Christ, as Jesus Himself has done.  Jesus, our example, was constantly putting others and their needs above His own.  He drew His power and strength from God as He poured out His time and energy for those around Him.  Down to His last breath, He was pouring Himself out for His Bride, the Church; and blessing His Church brings Him joy. 

We can experience the same great joy in our lives when we look past the exhaustion of serving and draw from the strength and power in Christ.  Here is a passage that may not be so familiar but carries a strong message.

For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. Hebrews 6:7 

This speaks to us of the blessings we can receive when we serve others. If we produce fruit from the seed God has planted in our lives and pass it on, we will be blessed in the sowing, watering and reaping.  The labor of service in the Kingdom may be wearisome of body but never the spirit.  While there are many pleasures men can be afforded, there is none like that of knowing you have been used of God to lighten the load of another.  

Joy comes when we are selflessly loving and serving one another.  It helps us get our mind off our own trouble to serve another.  When we focus on a friend’s problems and try to help solve an issue, we tend to see that what we feel is so overwhelming in our own life is not so insurmountable after all. 
Paul shared that his service was an offering to God which brought him such joy he wanted others to experience it as well.  

But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.  Philippians 2:17-18  

What greater sense of unity is there than for Christians to experience God using them together as one to accomplish His plan and will in the life of another.  True joy is the byproduct of selflessness, serving together, and submission.  Be filled with joy!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Living Worthy of the Gospel Part 3

Sunday, October 24th, 2021

Living Worthy of the Gospel Part 3

Philippians 3-4

The book of Philippians is a letter, written by the apostle Paul, that displays his personal affection for a church he started in the city of Philippi. The book of Philippians highlights for believers what a mature man, woman, and church, who lives worthy of the Gospel, looks like.

One Who is Truly Living Life Worthy of the Gospel has the Ability to Rejoice in the Lord.

·  Maturing believers rejoice in the Lord, not in their circumstances

A change in circumstances shouldn’t be what changes the attitude of the believer.

·  Maturing believers rejoice in the Lord, not in their accomplishments.

·  One Who is Truly Living Life Worthy of the Gospel has the Ability to Stay Focused on the Goal

·  You are not what you used to be so don’t romanticize past celebrations.

·  You are not yet what you are going to be so don’t push your future anticipations.

·  You are here today so press on.

One Who is Truly Living Life Worthy of the Gospel has the Ability to Be Content.

·  Finding contentment only becomes possible when we realize it is a learned behavior.

·  The Gospel is a model of contentment.

Friday, October 22, 2021

The Truth About Temptation

Friday, October 22, 2021

 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  Romans 7:22-23 NIV

The Truth About Temptation
Before sin possesses your life, it possesses your thoughts.  The mind is the battleground for sin.  There is a battle raging within your mind in which the only prisoner that can be taken is you. The devil wants to make your mind his spiritual headquarters. He wants to steal your joy, peace, satisfaction and, most of all, your purpose.  
The devil in on a mission to capture, control, and corrupt the minds of all men.  From the time that Satan entered this world he has always had only one strategy to attack this world.  He began it with Eve when he got in her head and confused her about God.  Satan’s desire is to make us think wrong before we act wrong to avoid the guilt and shame of wrong (Justify our sin).   The tools he uses are speculation, rationalization, humanism (the chief end of God is the good of man – God exists only for our benefit), and control of the mind over FAITH.
We think temptation is something out there, something external, something we see out there and say, “that’s looks good to me”.  It wouldn’t tempt you if there wasn’t already a corollary desire inside you.  It isn’t just a onetime thing that pops up and takes you off guard.  It is a process that Satan begins in our minds.  We all have desires that are wrong and Satan knows our weaknesses better than we do.  These are not necessarily evil desires, just natural human desires but in the wrong setting will lead to sin, sin that could destroy lives. 
Satan replaces God’s truths with his lies and his mode of attack is deception.  There is a good reason he is called the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44).  He deceives us into believing that what is truly a sin isn’t so bad if we just control it - We can have a little innocent “fun”.  God will understand.  But God does not understand when we choose to live in sin and make the choice to not surrender our temptation to Him.  With His power, Satan’s attacks and attempts to deceive us and gain control of our minds will be thwarted.  In His power we can overcome anything and everything. Just hand it over to Him, surrender your temptations to Him and trust His power to defeat this hold on you.  
Scripture to Claim:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV

Thursday, October 21, 2021

When Redemption Feels Impossible

 Thursday, October 21, 2021

And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the directions of David king of Israel.  And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Ezra 3:10-11

And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. Ezra 6:16

When Redemption Feels Impossible

The Israelites had made a bad choice long ago in turning away from God. They were always straying from God and refused to simply worship Him alone. They were following after the gods of the peoples around them. Over and over, God judged Israel for this idolatry. Finally, we see the culmination of judgment in what is known as the Babylonian captivity. God finally allowed the entire nation to be conquered by Babylon and taken from their homeland into that country. They remained in captivity in Babylon for 70 years. 

When the Israelites returned home, it wasn’t the same. It was not like they left it and restoration seemed imposible. Jerusalem was in ruins and the Jerusalem temple, said to have been built by Solomon, was destroyed in when the Babylonians captured the city, torched it, and exiled the Jewish leaders to Babylon. It seemed impossible to think that things could ever be the same again, and they wouldn’t. Just as with our own redemption stories, God has a plan, and His plan for our redemption often does not look like our plan. We see a different outcome sometimes and usually always – a different path through. Even though the temple foundation was laid and the building began, there were difficulties and obstables along the way, and the building ceased for a while. But our God is not deterred by obstacles! The building began again and the temple was finished eventually – and all the  people of Israel rejoiced. 

It took 70 years, but there was some good that came out of their bondage. One very significant impact on the nation of Israel when it returned to the land was that it would never again be corrupted by the idolatry and false gods of the surrounding nations. There was a revival among Jews that happened after they returned to Israel and began the rebuilding of the temple. God made the way for them to return and He made the impossible possible. He made a way for the temple to be rebuilt. 

What feels impossible in your life? What area holds so much destruction that you cannot possibly see a way it can be redeemed? If you are like me, I struggle with the concept that I know He can, but will He do it? Will He redeem the parts of my life that are destroyed from my own doing? He did it for the Israelites, and He will do it for you and me too. They had to rebuild – brick by brick. It was not fast, but it was God’s way, and hearts were changed in the process. The process is always where the good changes happen. We want to skip the process sometimes but that is not how God operates. We want a quick fix, but a quick fix is a bandaid over a gaping wound that never heals. As hard as it is, trust the process of redemption. There will still be a beautiful story at the end, it just may look different than you thought it would. 


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

First, Live Worthy

 Wednesday, October 20, 2021 

Instead, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please people, but rather God, who examines our hearts. For we never used flattering speech, as you know, or had greedy motives - God is our witness - and we didn’t seek glory from people, either from you or from others. 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 (ESV)

First, Live Worthy

In first and second Thessalonians we find another letter Paul has written to a church, this one in Thessalonica. Again, he is writing to them about living worthy as well as some other things. In the verses above he was talking to them about their Christian walk, warning them that if their walk was not right, their witness would suffer. 

The first thing we have to do as Christians is to make sure that our relationship to God is right and our walk is on target with His commands. If we don’t have our hearts right and our walk straight, then our witness for Him will not be very effective. 

God does want us to make disciples, but He wants us to get our heart right first. He cares about us and wants to know our hearts are only for Him. Being entrusted with the gospel is an honor and priviledge. Paul used the word “approved” because at that time, missionaries were tested before they were commissioned as God’s messeners. We may not be tested, but there is a level of responsibility that goes with representing God, His word, and His kingdom. 

He approves us to be entrusted with His gospel story so we speak for Him – for His glory, not to please people. And just as we have been entrusted with the gospel, we have been called to live worthy of this gospel – which has to happen before we can share it with others. 

We speak not to please people but to please God, who sees our hearts. Whatever we think we can make the world believe about us, God sees right into our hearts. The world will begin to see it after time as well. Our true motives will eventually shine through. We can use lots of flattery speech on social media, but what backs it up? What you say is not as important as what God sees in your heart. Flattery can cover up bitterness, anger, and all kinds of sin. So we need to be careful with our speech to make sure that it is not empty words, but filled with truth, and not everyone will like the truth of what God’s word says. It is not our job to make them comfortable, but to please God. 

We can get sucked into trying to please the world - or even think for a minute that we want to please the world. It can happen before we even realize it. But everything the world  promises is empty and delivers nothing but a void in our hearts. God deserves all the glory, from everything we do or say. As Christians seeking to go and make disciples, it is important that our walk is right and all the glory goes to Him. 

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