Archive for April, 2013
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” (Acts 4:29)
What would you pray for if someone were threatening you? Protection? Vengeance?
The early Christians prayed for boldness, so that they would not back down in the face of threats.
This day may bring frustration, pain, or disappointment. Do not let that turn into fear. God is with you through all of it and he will bring us safely home to live with him forever. So do not fear anything that this world does to you.
We frequently hear people talk about being church members. Just what does that mean?
There’s a bank card that reminds us that “membership has its privileges.” They call us members.
Many of us have been named to honor societies. We become members of those societies, but that’s usually as far as the relationship goes.
We can be members of a team or members of a club. A mathematical set has members. We have family members. We can come up with many definitions of the word “member.”
So what are we saying when we talk about being a member of a church? Is it like being members of a society or club? No. Writing to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul said, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4–5) He told a group of Ephesian Christians: “We are members of his body.” (Ephesians 5:30)
Church members are members of a body, the body of Christ. Just as a hand withers and dies when disconnected from the body, so believers face spiritual death if not connected with Christ’s body.
The church isn’t an organization; it’s an organism. Membership isn’t optional. If we are in Christ, in a saving relationship with him, then we are necessarily members of his body. Christians don’t choose to belong to the church; if they belong to Christ, they also belong to his body.
The apostle Paul wrote something similar to the Corinthian church, saying, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:12–13) Christians have been born again, and their new life is lived out in relationship with the body of Christ.
Christ is the head of the church, his body. We can’t be in a vital relationship with the head without being connected to the rest of the body.
“But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.” (John 2:24–25)
You can fool me. You can fool other people. You can even fool yourself. But you can’t fool God, because he doesn’t look at the outside. He looks at what’s going on inside of you.
Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. (II Thessalonians 3:1)
Take time today to pray for someone you know who is sharing Jesus with our world. And by the way, give thanks for the one who taught you about Jesus.
You can see why David was considered a man after God’s own heart. Though he was king, he humbled himself before the Lord. And he worshiped with all his might, holding nothing back.
May no one ever say that about us. Be sure that you help people move closer to God today.
“God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”” (2 Chronicles 1:11–12)
People run after a lot of things: money, fame, power, pleasure. The story of Solomon teaches us that we should really be after wisdom; wisdom is what can bring happiness to our lives, in a way that other things can’t.
“They do not know how to do right,” declares the Lord, “who hoard plunder and loot in their fortresses.” (Amos 3:10)
God blesses us with wealth, but not so we can store it up for ourselves. He intends for us to use it to bless others.
It happens in Little League baseball all over the world. There are always players who know the rules and who understand the game. There are also always new players who do not know or understand the rules, and the game becomes confusing and frustrating for them.
If you don’t hit the ball you are out. Unless you get four bad pitches before you get three good ones. Run really fast if you hit it. Unless you hit it on the wrong side of the white line. Or unless they catch it. But they have to catch it before it hits the ground. You can run past first base and home plate, but not second or third base. Step on the base to get someone out. Unless you have to tag them.
If children only see baseball as a bunch of rules everyone knows but them, it is easy to get discouraged and just quit. When they get confused and do the wrong thing, everyone seems to get mad and upset. It is easier to just not play. But with patience and teaching, children learn to love the game of baseball. They learn that the rules make sense and that they even make the game more fun.
Thinking about how confusing baseball is to an outsider makes me wonder how many people look at Christianity and see it as just a bunch of rules no one understands and no one follows. Even when they try to follow the rules, it seems so hard to get them all right. Some Christians seem to get mad and upset when other people do not know and follow the rules. Some even get so discouraged that they give up on God because they really do not get it.
Unless someone has the patience to teach them and show them that Christianity is not just a set of rules no one can understand or follow. Christianity is about a relationship with God and Jesus. It is about being loved and learning to love. When you begin to understand that, you realize that what appears to be a set of rules is actually way of life enabling you to live a life of love, peace, and joy.