Noah Found Favor

After Cain killed Abel, Cain’s murderous and godless line continued to populate the earth. Adam’s wife, Eve gave birth to another son named Seth. Seth was the father of Enosh and through the line of Enosh; “men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Gen 4:26)

The earth was now being well populated and the few men that were following God began to intermarry with women who had no desire to follow God. The corruption of mankind became so bad that God said, “Every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually.” (Gen 6:5). That’s not good!

There are times that we think that this world is really bad as we watch the news and hear about all of the murders, theft and corruption. I’m not denying that this world is a mess, because it is, but we are not quite as bad as the days of Noah, though we are probably not too far from that point.

In the days of Noah would be a scary time to live in, because every person had only evil thoughts continually. Who could you trust? Would it be safe to walk down the street in the middle of the day? Was it total chaos as everyone did as they wanted?

In the midst of an entire earth doing what they want for their own pleasure; there was one man that did not follow everyone else. His name was Noah.

Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD…Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.  Genesis 6:8-9

Noah was born with a purpose like each of us. As seen at this birth, his father said, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.” (Gen 5:29) They were in an agrarian society and of course, another hand on a farm is always helpful and will bring relief in the work load, but the idea of rest goes deeper than physical relief. In spite of the judgment of God which was about to come; Noah will bring peace and rest to those in his line who listen to his words, and those who would listen to his words as he preached righteousness to those around as he built the ark (though none listened).

God had to intervene otherwise mankind would exterminate itself. So, before this happened, even though it sounds coldhearted, insensitive and violent, God decided to wipe out the evilness of mankind with a world-wide flood just so he can protect mankind by bringing peace and rest through the line Noah and eventually send the one who has ultimate peace: Jesus Christ.

Before God decided to wipe out the earth; He did give mankind a chance to repent. God sent Enoch and thousands of holy ones (Jude 1:14-15) to point people to God and to preach to this rebellious group. After all of God’s holy ones dies, and what seems to be no converts (at least alive), this only left Noah and his family. This really shows the depravity of mankind. It’s now down to one man on the entire earth walking with God. God told Noah to build a big boat for him and his family to be saved.

Through faith, Noah was shown grace and was declared righteous because he walked with God. Even in the midst of a corrupt society were everyone had only evil thoughts continually; he obediently proceeded to shine for God and fulfill his God-given purpose in life. He stood alone for God even though everyone around him had no desire to serve God. Noah was without doubt mocked and ridiculed for taking this stand, but even so, God used Noah mightily to bring peace and rest to mankind.

Even today as the darkness of evil is pressing in and when those around you will not follow God; take your stand and let Jesus’ light shine through you to show people the peace and rest that you have in Jesus Christ because of God’s grace shown to Noah.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27

Address the Real Problem

There was a time I had hurt my back at work and the workman compensation doctor prescribed pain medicine so my back wouldn’t hurt. That was great because there was no pain soon after taking the medicine but the pain would increase shortly before the next dose; it was a vicious cycle. This doctor only looked at the symptom; the pain in my back; instead of addressing the real problem at hand. It wasn’t until I went to a chiropractor who adjusted the vertebrae to its proper location that the pain went away and the medication was no longer needed. The pain medicine masked the pain of the real problem at hand; the out of place vertebrae. The out of place vertebrae had to be put back where it rightly belonged.

Society does the same thing by looking to the symptom of each problem and then trying to manage the symptom instead of addressing the real issue at hand. We now believe if we could only petition to get rid of a certain business, limit access to a specific website or ban a particular weapon; man would not chase those things and life will be sunshine and rainbows for everyone. The problem that we are seeing is that control over an item is not the issue. Even if that particular nuisance is eliminated there would be a second and third choice right behind it. The real problem at hand is man’s heart and this must be addressed if we want to really take care of the problem instead of only treating the symptoms.

This problem is seen early on in the creation of mankind. In Genesis chapter four, Adam and Eve had two boys by the name of Cain and Abel. Though it is not written for us to see; there must have been some revelation to them that they should give a gift to God to express their gratitude for God’s provision. Cain was a farmer, so it would be proper for him to bring produce. Abel was the rancher so it would be proper for him to bring an animal.

It appears that it was about relationship and the heart of the giver. Thus the idea of a gift. A gift is something that is given voluntarily. The gift was also about giving in faith. To give by faith the first of something means there is no guarantee that the plant will produce more fruit or the mother goat will have more kids. God prescribed this for them to do but God must have promised something. If you do this my way; you will be righteous.

It appears that Cain brought his gift out of his surplus or just because he felt obligated since Abel did it. It wasn’t given from the heart. Abel brought the first born and the best portions from his flock. Cain gave out of duty or obligation; Abel gave by faith from his heart.

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. Hebrews 11:4

 

Abel was righteous for doing it God’s way. Their way of salvation was by being obedient to what God commanded them.

Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 esv

The Lord accepted Abel’s offering, but Cain’s offering was not accepted. Cain did not care to do things God’s way which was by faith. Cain wanted righteousness by his own way, but it is clearly seen that righteousness comes God’s way by faith.

Cain became angry and sad and he recognized that he didn’t do it how God wanted. Now he has a choice. To come to God: God’s way, which is by faith or continue to do things his way. He could have gotten out of his sad state, but instead of getting right with God, Cain expresses his frustration to Abel then kills him. Cain picked up a rock which was the closest thing to him; then he uses that rock to kill his brother. The rock wasn’t the issue though it was the tool used; the problem was Cain’s heart which was far from God.

 

Despite the atrocity that Cain did, God still provided an opportunity to show grace to him by asking, “Where is Abel your brother?” Instead of confessing his actions to God and asking for grace and forgiveness; Cain unapologetically tells God, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (vs.8); truly showing where his heart was. His heart was far from God.

 

How about you? Is your heart from God like Cain’s? Quit addressing the symptoms and let’s address the real problem with mankind: our hearts.  God is patiently waiting for you to turn to Him. Come to God His way by faith and let him cleanse your heart.

 

…Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:1-2,10

Obeying Rules

Why do we not want to obey rules?

Rules always has a negative connotation about them. We seem to concentrate on the one thing that we can’t do instead of the multiple freedoms that we do have.

This isn’t a new problem, even in the beginning, man had issues with obeying simple rules. God gave one command to Adam in Genesis 2:16-17: “From any tree of the garden you many eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Adam communicated this one rule of not eating the fruit to his wife Eve and somewhere in the transfer it evolved into not even touching the tree.

There were many trees to eat from but the allure of the unknown had drawn them to it as they added rules to the one rule that was given. They could have touched the tree, climbed it and even built a tree house in it. The one rule was to not eat from it.

In Genesis chapter three, the serpent (Satan) approaches Eve trying to entice her with this illicit fruit. The serpent begins to spew lies and partial truths as he questions what God really said about eating from the garden. Eve said that “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.” (vss2-3)

Eve is now in dialogue with the serpent about what God really said. And there is the beginning when mankind began to question or even add to God’s word. Eve decided that the fruit was edible and pleasing to look at and since she wanted this unknown wisdom that the serpent mentioned; she ate and turned and gave some to Adam who was standing right there as this was going on.

Immediately, they went from being “naked and were not ashamed” (2:25) to their innocence was gone and now their eyes were open to what they had done. They heard God coming and instead of joyful bliss as their creator approached they ran in fear. Then the all-powerful, all-knowing and ever present God asks, “Where are you at?” God knew where they were at; he was allowing Adam to recognize his troublesome state that he was in. Adam said that he was afraid because he was naked. Then the blame game starts as Adam points the finger at Eve, but ultimately, he was blaming God, it was the woman that YOU gave me. Eve passed the buck and blamed the serpent and there you have it…The Fall of Man.

The serpent is cursed, Satan’s defeat is foretold, child birth becomes harder, the ground is cursed work becomes harder, blood was shed to cover their nakedness and they are told that they are going to physically die. Not a pretty story.

Adam and Eve are now spiritually dead because they did not keep the one rule that God had. God now had to shove them out of this perfect garden so they do not eat from the Tree of Life and forever stay in this pitiful state (vs. 22).

Since man was unable to keep God’s one rule and the Fall of Man began, God quickly intervened and gives the first mention of the Gospel in verse 15 mentioning “her seed” who will come and redeem this now fallen mankind.

Because of the Fall of Man; we are now born spiritually dead, uninterested in the things of God and naturally rule breakers. We will one day physically die. These two deaths are unavoidable, but there is a third death that is avoidable which is called Eternal death or forever separation from God when you physically die. The Gospel began at the moment that Adam disobeyed God’s one rule. God foretold and eventually sent his son, Jesus Christ to this earth and ultimately to the cross to take on our pitiful sinful state. Jesus shed his own blood to redeem us and to cover our sin so that through belief in Christ; we can forever be in God’s presence after physical death.

Since that first rule was broken back with Adam; mankind has been in a troublesome state because of our sin, but God does not want us to stay in this pitiful state. God wants us to recognize our need for him and come to him to have joyful bliss with the Creator of the Universe like we were originally created to do.

Created With Purpose

I once knew someone who never felt his life purpose was clear. He wanted to be a big-time leader. The only problem was; he wasn’t wired to be that type of leader, nor did he strive to be that leader. Sure, he was a leader in certain areas of life, but the level of leadership that he wanted to attain wasn’t going to be reached in his current state without purposeful effort. Now he could either get the skills needed to be that leader and look for opportunities to step out of his comfort zone so he could endeavor to be that leader or he needs to recognize the gifts and roles that he does have and capitalize on them. He had many gifts and talents, but they were not as glorious as what he aspired to be in his mind.  Now if he doesn’t get those skills or recognize and accept the roles that he does have; he will flounder about in life frustrated not knowing his purpose here on earth.

Most every knows someone like this or maybe I described yourself.

Most every skill is attainable, but there are some that come naturally for each person. Recognizing those can help each person to realize their purpose here on earth. Just as God created us–each of us was created with a purpose.

Genesis chapter two gives us a little more detail of what happened in the creation account in chapter one. We know that we were created in God’s image (1:26), but how were we created? Everything was spoken into existence by God’s power words. In chapter two verse seven, God did something different; He formed man from the dust of the ground. He breathed His breathe into Adam and Adam became a living being. This act made man unique to the rest of God’s creation.

Adam wasn’t created to flounder around without a purpose; he immediately showed his role and dominion over the earth by naming the animals and he was quickly placed in the garden to work it and to watch over it. God said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone, so he created Eve from Adam’s rib. The actual word used is ‘built’. So biblically, we could say that Eve was built… Adam recognized that Eve was “bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh (vs. 23)”; the same substance. In God’s sight they are one flesh working together for God’s glory and not their own.

Here we have the institution of marriage demonstrating a man and a woman coming together before God and becoming one flesh. Eve was created to be a helper for Adam. This doesn’t show any inferiority towards Eve, but actually shows that before God they are equal because they are now one flesh. Yes, there are different roles for each, but the two have now come together to help each other to exercise those roles and to do their life purpose.

God has given a unique role for each person he created, usually, this isn’t recognized until you know your life purpose which is to glorify God in all you do. I want to encourage you to discover your purpose here on earth so you do not flounder in your short life. Once you recognize your purpose; you will see the role God has for you and so you can willingly accept it. If you are married, you each have a helper to support you in fulfilling your role and now as one flesh you can work together for God’s glory and not your own. If you are looking to marry, make sure that you and your future spouse recognizes your life’s purpose so you two can move forward in the same direction glorifying God.

Once we recognize our purpose which is to bring glory to God; we will humbly accept whatever role that is given to us and willingly do the work entrusted to us so Christ gets the glory.

First get to know Christ. You will then know your purpose which is to Glorify Him in all you do. Then He will show you what role you have in glorifying Him so you do not flounder in this short life here one earth.

For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s…. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 6:20, 10:31 

We Need Existing Materials to Build

I love to build and create new things. There is a sense of pride being able to look back and see and show people what you have done. Right out of high school; I became a framing carpenter and I helped build many houses throughout the booming Jackson and Johnson counties. Several of those houses are easily seen on roads that I frequent often. It is very satisfying to see them still there and in good shape after 25 years.

For each house, we built; the local lumber company delivered the wood, nails, doors and windows that we needed. All of those items were created out of existing materials. The lumber was made from trees. Glass for the windows and doors are made from sand. The thousands of nails needed to build a house was made out of steel which is produced from iron and carbon. All of the items to build a house is made out of preexisting materials found here on earth.

But where did those items come from?

In the Book of Genesis is the creation account and it explains where everything came from.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1  

Of course, this is a debated subject from many because to believe by faith that God created everything means that one has to accept that there is a God. The Book of Genesis is very foundational for the believer because it shows the beginnings of life as we know it. Each person by faith believes this to be true or in sense, by faith they are believing their belief that there is no God to be true. This is because everyone believes in something and it is very important to know and understand the truth of anything that you believe.

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3

Why is belief so important?

Because what you believe controls how you think.

What you think shows in your actions by what you do.

What you do determines how you live your life.

And in full circle, how you live your life exposes what you believe.

Everyone can look at a sunset and know without a doubt that someone powerful had to make it; it couldn’t happen by accident. This leads you to assume by faith that a powerful being (i.e. God) has to exist. The Book of Genesis tells us that everything was created by God Himself. He is a creative artist with an attention to detail. This is clearly seen with the complexity of the human body, the planets perfect rotations and the picturesque mountain scenes. The difference with God creating something compared to us is that God created everything out of nothing.

If we want to build or create a house, a cake, a vehicle….; we need existing materials to build our creation. God did it different. He created everything out of nothing. He spoke everything into existence with His powerful Word.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:3    

Without using any existing materials, God spoke everything into existence. This shows how powerful, detailed and awesome that He is. He didn’t need existing materials to create the earth, but instead His Words would create complex systems that run perfectly and beautiful things for us to see and to enjoy.

Everyone believes in something. It is very important for each person to have a strong foundation of what they believe to be true. The Book of Genesis is the perfect foundation to build on. I encourage you to spend some time reading and studying this book, because what you believe controls how you think. What you think shows in your actions by what you do. What you do, determines how you live your life, and how you live your life exposes what you truly believe.

False Teachers

In the closing remarks of Paul’s letter to the Romans; he shows his love for this church and gives greetings to the many unknown heroes who labor diligently for the Lord. Within this last charge; Paul urges them to continually be aware of those who try to trap unsuspecting people into false teaching.

Notice how the groups against God are not necessarily trying to eradicate the Church directly but indirectly by infiltrating it to entrap the people to put the people in bondage so they become shipwrecked in their faith or so they keep their eyes on themselves instead of putting their eyes on Christ. It’s a brilliant strategy, because the ones ensnared by the deceit continues to be “busy serving the Lord” while really serving themselves so they can feel accepted and worthy and maybe even entitled.

This is a real problem in the Church today.

False teachers are very intentional of promoting their lies. Sadly, they capture those week in the faith, those struggling to be accepted and those who want control.

The way to combat false teachers is to be so familiar with the Truth that when a counterfeit comes; one can easily detect it to be false.

There are some that think that they must study the occult and the ways of the Devil so they can be wise to his ways, but this is not so. Become so familiar of the Truth that false teachings can be easily seen.

I always think of a bank teller. They are probably trained to notice some discrepancies that may be found on a bill, but for the most part: they are put with the real money. They count it, touch, see it. The texture becomes familiar in their hands and their eyes see consistent patterns within the bills. The money quickly runs through their hands, but when a counterfeit comes; they can easily find it because they are so familiar with the truth of what a real bill is.

I had a pastor that always said that our doctrine has to be on razor point. We need to be so on point with our Scripture because being off a little today starts a path that can take us way off course. Think of a ship on the ocean that is off on their course by one degrees. It doesn’t sound like much. The ship would become a few feet off course after a hundred yards; not much to be concerned about., but if it stayed on that course for five hours; it would be many miles off its course. This ship being off one degrees would cause a world of problems to the ones in it and probably those around it.

Many years ago, I was attending a church that had a false teacher enter it. From the pulpit, he would boldly say, “This might sound strange, but hear me out.” He would then say things close to Scripture but was off just a little. Everyone rejected it at first, but most, after justifying it in their mind, accepted it as Truth because it was seasoned with Scripture even though it was used out of context. Sadly, I watched that church evolve and to this day continues to subtlety preach their lies while engaging many to become workers of their salvation serving their own desires.

In Paul’s final chapter in Romans; he urges the Church to be aware of false teachers and to purposely avoid association with them. That sounds rude, but they don’t love people. No matter how smooth and sweet they say it; their only intent is to trap people into a false doctrine. This usually leads to a ship wreck of faith or it pushes people into a legalistic lifestyle that serves themselves.

Be diligent in preaching the Truth and be on alert of false teachers trying to slip into your church. Get yourself so familiar with the Truths of the Scriptures that you can teach them to others and quickly call out any false teachers that come your way.

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. Romans 16:17

One Beautiful Voice

Have you ever heard Roman Catholic monks sing a Gregorian chant? A Gregorian chant goes back to the Middle Ages. It was an unaccompanied monophonic piece usually made for men or boy choirs in churches. It is simple, powerful and at times haunting. Within the choir there could be dozens of men, but what you would hear is one complex and beautiful voice.

Gregorian chants are not a popular music choice today, but the idea of people coming together and creating one beautiful voice is seen in chapter fifteen of the Book of Romans.

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. Romans 15:5-7

One of the hallmarks of a Christian is that they show love to one another. With God’s love; we are able to come together with one purpose, one mind and one voice to glorify God.

What a gorgeous sound this must be to God when the body of believers does this!

The Apostle Paul recognized the grace that was given to him to be able to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. He even understood that his pedigree and privileges from being a Jew was nothing to boast about. The only thing worthy of boasting was the fact that God was working and Jesus Christ was giving hope, joy and peace to those who believed.

Paul’s hope was in what Christ had done for him and through him and not any of his works.

All of us has heard choir pieces that has had a soloist step away from the choir to do a few verses their style. Though it can be beautiful; it does bring special attention and honor to the one singing. Sometimes it can even detract from the group as a whole if not done carefully. When done properly; the attention goes back to the choir with one voice that is communicating its message.

There are times that it is seen that an individual of the Body of Christ is having solo or drawing special attention. There are some that arrogantly take the applause as their own, but when done correctly, the soloist disappears back into choir so the one voice is prominent and continues communicating its message.

When Christians come together filled with God’s love and with the same purpose, mind and voice directed to Jesus Christ; it communicates to the world the hope that they have and it takes the attention and applause off us and points it to Christ so He is glorified.

With God’s love let’s show the world the hope that we have as we come together with one purpose, one mind and in one voice glorifying Jesus Christ because He is worthy of praise.

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope….Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:4, 13

 

 

Don’t Judge

Today with social media; it is easy to see the thought process of many people. There are many who feel that they have full knowledge of every subject or situation so they feel compelled to voice their opinion about it even though it shows their ignorance of that particular subject. There are some that voice legitimate concerns and comments, but many are uneducated in all of the aspects of the particular situation. Without full knowledge; it can leave a person convinced that they have all of the right answers including knowing the motives of the individual. This is dangerous because it becomes easy to judge others.

Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Romans 14:4

The bible commands us to love one another. Of course, God has to be working through us for us to truly love one another, but it seems that it should be easier for us to love brothers and sisters in Christ as opposed to strangers or those who mistreat us. This seems to be true but in many Christian circles there is a lack of love and in its place a judgmental attitude.

The Apostle Paul in Romans chapter fourteen shows that there are some that believe that all foods are okay for them to eat while others feel it is wrong to eat it (vs. 2). Some see one day more important than other days while there are those who see every day as the same. Each person needs to make up their mind what is right and only judge themselves as they come to each conclusion whether it is right for them or not. (vs. 5).

Instead of judging one’s self, unfortunately, the only judging that goes on is the judging of the other person for either doing it or for not doing it. This does not show love for one another.

The freedoms that we have in Christ is a great thing, but we must make sure that we do not abuse those freedoms and cause a brother to stumble (vs. 13). This is reciprocal; instead of judging each other; educate each other with the Scriptures, pray for and love each other. Throughout this process; you could see that maybe you are the one who is wrong or you could be the one that gets your brother or sister in a right relationship with God.

There can be times that we see a particular happening done by an individual as wrong and maybe even sinful in our eyes. Many of the things that we squabble over really don’t matter in the light of eternity. Point people to Christ; if there is something that you are doing that takes away from pointing people to Christ stop doing it. Instead of judging others; look within yourself and judge yourself. There is always room of improvement with your relationship with Christ. Be so focused on bringing glory to Christ that you forget to judge others.

…if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:31

You do not have to give an account for your brother or sister; each one has to give an account for themselves. Only judge yourself; do not judge others. Use your energy to glorify God in all you do.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

 

 

Love

We have all heard the word “love” used many different ways: “I love ice cream. I love my girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse. I love football. I love my mother. I love God”.

Each of these phrases is a different use of the word “love”.

How do we reach its deepest meaning?

The Bible tells us that God’s love has been poured out upon us (Rom 5:5).  While we were yet sinners, God demonstrated how he loved the world by sending His Son, Jesus Christ.  Christ loves us so much that He died on the cross to save us from our sins. He first loved us:  unconditionally, even if we do not love Him in return. This is the heart of true love: unconditional self-giving. It is a selfless giving to another person even if it is rejected or if it brings suffering or sacrifice to the one giving it.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

This love is extreme but we are commanded to show this same type of love in Romans 13:8.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

 

This is read by most to be a good citizen, smile friendly to all or to help the little old lady cross the street. These are good things, but it doesn’t represent the love that is mentioned here.

 

True love for a neighbor is sacrificial looking out for the best interest for them. It is not wanting to steal from them, speak poorly of them or covet anything of theirs. Just as you would not want these things to happen to you or your family; you should not do them others.

 

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10

True love is selfless and has no conditions. This type of love cannot be birthed from our own flesh; it can only be shown as we walk in the Spirit and God’s love flows through us. As this love is shown; others can see us fulfilling the righteous requirements of the Law which points people to Christ.

True love is selfless and has no conditions.  If someone says they love you, but expect something in return. They are not showing true love, but rather selfishness.

Jesus showed unconditional love by giving himself for the benefit of others. True love looks out for the other person, not for self. This is the heart of true love: unconditional self-giving.

As Christ’s love flows through us; we are able to show this same type of love to our neighbor (those around us) and thus glorifying Christ.

Diversity in the Body

One of the hardest things about planting a church is trying to figure out biblically what a church is supposed to do and what it should look like. Of course, we have our ideas of what a church should look like. Things like: you should meet on Sunday mornings, you should congregate at a certain location for a prescribed time limit, you should sing three songs for your worship set using certain instruments, you should have certain qualifications for particular ministries inside the church…etc.

Within our thinking; we isolate the “Church” to a particular location that has a handful of qualified people to perform ministry in a certain way that we are familiar with. This mindset creates people who are church building attenders not recognizing that the “church” is the people who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation and that the church goes beyond the walls of a building and each one is equipped to do ministry

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:4-5

…Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.  Ephesians 5:23

Once you become a child of God through Christ’s finished work on the cross; you become part of the Body of Christ (ie. Church). Christ is the head of the body directing it for His glory. Not all of us is the same part of that body, but each one is very important to helping the body being the hands and feet to a lost world.

It is easy to only associate with those who think and act like us, but we need the diversity within the body to challenge us, to keep us accountable and for an opportunity for us to not think to highly of our selves (Rom 12:3).

Since the Holy Spirit dwells in each believer, each believer has the ability to perform any gift of the body as God directs, but each one has at least have one unique gift or purpose that God has given to them to help move the Body of Christ forward in reaching a lost world.

The church is likened to a body, so we can rejoice and morn together. This is to help us with unity. Think of your own body; if you stub a pinky toe, do you cut it off or doctor it to help your body to keep going. The same with a splinter in the finger. Do you cut it off or work on getting the splinter out so it doesn’t fester?

Sometimes in the Body of Christ; we want to cut off those who are not like us or those who are struggling. We seem that it is easier to cut off those less important parts of the body instead of making them strong and useful for Christ.

Within the Body of Christ, we are called to preach, teach, exhort, serve, lead, love and contribute to others within the body. This needs to be done without hypocrisy while cheerfully showing mercy to each one within the body (Rom 12:6-16).

Basically, treat others within the Body of Christ the same way you treat your body. Each believer is equipped for ministry, so be the one that reaches out to the struggling parts of the body. Preach the truth to them, encourage them and love them. Someday you might be the one who is struggling and the one that you helped could be the one that puts you back on track.

This is what the “church” should look like.

Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Romans 12:16