Letters Read By Everyone

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1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Cor. 4:1​, 2  ​NIV
When we hear the word minister or ministry, we tend to think of pastors. evangelists, missionaries and offices of that sort.  But, God has given each of us a ministry. Each one of us has been called to service by God. Our mission field is where we live, work or go to school.  Our congregations are our families, neighbors, fellow workers and/or fellow students. Just as surely as a pastor is responsible to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ and His resurrection to his congregation, we are to do the same for those God has placed in our circle of influence. Just as surely as a pastor should pray for those in his congregation, we are responsible to pray for those around us. Just as surely as a church staff should minister to the needs of the congregation, we should minister to the needs of those God has put in our “congregations”. Whether those needs be spiritual, emotional, physical or financial, we have a responsibility to use the resources God has given us to comfort others.  3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.– 2 Cor. 1:3, 4 NIV

Our lifestyles should reflect the truth that we are letters sent from Christ written on hearts of flesh by the Holy Spirit and read by everyone who knows us.

2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. — 2 Cor. 3:1, 2 NIV

We should use every ministry opportunity to contend for the faith that has been entrusted to us by God Himself.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 06-07-2018

“Accentuate the Positive”**

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16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. – Romans 6:16 NLT
 


We were all born in sin into a sinful world, We live in a fleshly tent that desires to sin. In our own strength, we will never be free from those desires. The flesh lusts after money, power, and pleasures. When we lived a sinful lifestyle, we were being obedient to the flesh and the flesh was our master. Though we didn’t realize it at the time, we were slaves to sin and we were held in bondage by satan. But Jesus died and rose again that we might be free from that bondage.  Now, we can make a choice to live a life that is obedient to Jesus Christ. We are covered with His righteousness. But our freedom does not give us license to live a sinful lifestyle. We will all still sin occasionally, but our focus should not be on sinning, but on living a Christlike lifestyle. We used to have a carnal mind and followed after carnal things, Now, we have the mind of Christ and follow after Spiritual things.

Phil. 2:1-5 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

**Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

 

Post 03-25-2018

“All For His Glory”

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31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble,whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.—1 Cor. 10:31-33 NIV

Every word that we say and every action we take has an effect on everyone in our circle of influence, whether that circle is small or large is not the question. Every thing we do and/or say should be seasoned with love, kindness and mercy. Otherwise, how can our words and actions glorify God?  If we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, we will not be a stumbling block to those around us.  Notice that Paul says he “tries” to please everyone in every way. We are not to violate our conscience simply to please someone, that would be a sin for us and a stumbling block for them.  We are not to seek glory or earthly rewards for ourselves. Instead, we live a lifestyle that glorifies God and builds up our rewards in heaven. But when there is a conflict of conscience, every choice we make must please God and not man.

3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery​, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others,
–1 Thess. 2:3-6a ESV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-27-2018

Discipline in the Body of Christ

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13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you. – 1 Cor. 5:13 NLT

Paul is not suggesting that we never associate with worldly people whose lives are controlled by their fleshly desires. Just as Jesus said, we “are in the world but not of the world”. We hold ourselves to different standards. We are not to think of ourselves as “better than” nor are we to think of ourselves as “holier than” anyone. What we are to do is to separate ourselves from our Christian brothers and sisters who have chosen to live unholy lifestyles. We are as Paul puts it to “expel the wicked person from among you.” This seems harsh to us. We had rather hide behind verses such as “judge not lest you be judged” and “pull the plank out of your own eye before you point out the toothpick in your brother’s eye”. (my paraphrase) We must keep the Temple of Christ clean and holy.
1​ Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.—2 Cor. 7:1 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-12-2018

Spiritual Ancestry

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15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. – 1 Cor. 4:15 NLT

Paul has not been trying to shame the Christians at Corinth, but rather his intention is to teach them as a Father would teach his children. He wants them to have a closer relationship with Christ and to do this, they are going to have to have a change of attitude. He tells them that although they may have legions of angels watching over them, they have only one Spiritual Father and that is himself. Spiritual parents are the people who prayed for us and brought us to repentance through the preaching and/or teaching of the Gospel. They have, as it were, birthed us into the Gospel. Then as our spiritual parents, they feel a great responsibility to teach us how to live a Holy lifestyle. So, Paul wants the Corinthians to imitate his lifestyle of humility and obedience. Paul has sent to them Timothy, who is his Spiritual son, to help them to stay on course. Paul is reminding them that he not only talks the talk but he walks the walk. Again, it is a message, not only to the Corinthians but to us today.
14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy​.​”​​​-​– 1 Peter 1:14-16 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-09-2018

Every Day Is Thanksgiving Day

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20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, – Ephesians​ 5:20 ESV


God knows that we have work to do and relationships to maintain, so how can we “always” be giving thanks? I think we have to put this verse with the verse in 1 Thess. 5:17 where Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing”. To give God thanks always and to pray without ceasing are not commands for us to go around orally praying and giving thanks at all times. Neither do our prayers and thanksgiving have to be with lots of fancy words. One of my favorite prayers in the Bible is Peter’s prayer when he takes his eyes off Jesus and starts to sink in the sea. “Lord, save me”. That prayer was very short and effective. Our lifestyle, which is determined by our thought patterns, should always be one that is ready to pray and give thanks. We should be as quick to say “Thank you, Lord” in the good times as we are to say “Save me, Lord” in the rough times.

​1. ​I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.–Psalm 34:1 (ESV)
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,​ my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;​ in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,–Psalm 63:3-5 (ESV)
8 Bless our God, O peoples;​ let the sound of his praise be heard–Psalm 66:8 (ESV)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 11-23-2017

 

Don’t Worry! Be Joyful!

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When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. –John 14:3
 
​​We have a place that has been prepared for us by God Himself.. One day, Jesus will return and take us there to live with Him for eternity. Paul said that if Christians had hope only for this life and not for eternity, we should be pitied..
19 If our hope in Christ is for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone else in the world.—1 Cor. 15:19 (NCV)
But because we have placed our faith in God and, in God alone, we can be assured of life eternal. We can know the way by accepting Jesus and being led by the Holy
Spirit. We are guaranteed that this promise will be kept. Because God has deposited the Holy Spirit in our hearts and He abides there to lead us.

21 Remember, God is the One who makes you and us strong in Christ. God made us his chosen people. 22 He put his mark on us to show that we are his, and he put his Spirit in our hearts to be a guarantee for all he has promised.—2 Cor. 1:21,22 (NCV)
If we truly believe that the Bible is inerrant and infallible and that Jesus is the truth, we have no reason to fear or dread anything that man can do to us. Jesus gave us a gift of His peace, not like the world’s peace that means no storms will ever come our way. His peace keeps us calm in the storm because we believe He is in perfect control of every situation.
10 God says, “Be still and know that I am God…”–Psalm 46:10a (NCV)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 11-02-2017