Spiritual


2 Corinthians 8:13-15

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” Abundance is God’s way of saying, “Take care of those who do not have what they need.”

Our world has fallen far from this ideal, and the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow.

The design is this: if God blesses you with an abundance (money, time, anything), then His hope is that you are generous in sharing what He has given you. In doing so we live and learn to truly love one another. This lifestyle is evidence of the grace of God at work in the lives of His children, and places the gospel on display for all that they might believe in the Lord Jesus.

If you have more than enough, share it. If you don’t have enough, be willing to receive help from those who do. Let God take care of judging who is worthy.

Verse/Commentary courtesy of ‘Verse-A-Day’ app. http://www.verse-a-day.com/Apps

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See 1 Timothy 2:1-4 – “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

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See Job 19:25-26 – “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”

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See Job 13:15 – “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.”

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See Luke 10:27 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

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Just in from the AP “Muslim who converted to Christianity sues church for publishing baptism news“.

OK, so you’re Muslim, you convert to Christianity but you don’t want it shouted from the rooftops. I can understand this. In fact it’s not all to uncommon in much of the world today. If the underground church in many nations surfaced and shouted from the rooftops one might argue, “Who will carry on the work?”

This is kind of a mixed bag. As believer’s we should tell the world – but even the early church as recorded in the New Testament used wisdom and discretion. We do not see accounts of believers en masse shouting from the rooftops. They were courageous and shared their faith – sometimes publicly, sometimes privately but I can’t think of a single instance where it was done secretly or the other extreme “in your face”.

We in the “free” world have a difficult time grasping what much of the world goes through when accepting Jesus Christ as savior and denouncing the former ways.

Additionally, I do not expect a new convert to understand the instruction given in 1 Corinthians 6 regarding taking our lawsuits before the world. However, not knowing any background details it seems to me that there was:

  1. an inadequate relationship breech by one or both parties so that his man had no one to talk to about the harm the church needlessly caused him
  2. or this man felt the response of the church was wholly insensitive
  3. or he is simply seizing the opportunities of a litigious society

So where is all this headed, you ask? Discipleship 101. Maybe, just maybe, this could have been avoided if someone built bridges and took this man under their wings, nurtured, mentored and even advocated (albeit after the fact) with church leadership and this man to reconcile.

Close friendships have the best chance of avoiding the pitfalls of 1, 2, and 3 above. THAT’S what the Christian faith is about.

“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27

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Today I read an article by a (former) mega-church pastor who voluntarily stepped down from leading the church he founded to follow God’s call.

That sentence alone gives him credibility in my eyes.  I have watched many of his videos, seen him at conference and led a group through one of his books just this last year.  His teaching is consistent with his life.  His teaching is consistent with the Bible.

Recently he spoke to a group of pastors and said, “I’m seeing a lot of ritual, a lot of faithfulness over the years but I’m concerned that there’s not this desperate like cry like ‘God, I feel like walk into service and I feel it’s so dead. God I got to have your power, I got to have your presence and maybe I substituted that for just going through the service order another weekend‘”

He questioned “How many times do we have services and events where we quote Him, will say things about Him, but is He really behind it? Is He the one really moving through a person and saying these things or are we just standing up here representing Him and we’re harmless, we’ll quote Him, we’ll say good things but is He the power behind it?”

“We are content to hear from another speaker, or podcast another guy or read another book when the scriptures teaches I can literally walk up that mountain, I can come in the presence of Him, I actually see His glory but we’re just content taking selfies with Moses and writing about it.”

If only more could grasp the message.  It’s not about social reform, it’s not how big we could grow, it’s not about comfort, it’s about the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.  Without Him my next breath will not happen.  Without Him I have no assurance that after this short life ends there’s a lot more, a lot more and forever…

Thank you Francis for spreading the Good News!

(more…)

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