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Monthly Archives : March 2019

HUMILITY …… MARCH 24, 2019

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3 ESV

The opposite of humility is pride, and the Bible teaches that…… Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 ESV Pride brought destruction by causing the fall of the angel now recognized as Satan, as well as all the fallen angels who are recognized as demons . It caused Adam and Eve to lose the joy and fellowship they experienced with God in the garden. In the world today pride continues to cause destruction and causes all types of pain, grief, and loss. I once heard a minister on the radio say, “Pride is the mother of all sins, for pride gives birth to every sin known to man.”
The sin of pride keeps a person from having a relationship with God by proclaiming self dependance, saying, “I don’t need God,” and being cheered on in deception by Satan. So how do you overcome the sin of pride and live in humility? Obviously, humility does not proclaim self. Could you imagine someone saying, “Look how humble I am”? Most often, humility shows itself by the life a person lives while serving others . The more surrendered your life is to God, the more you will emulate the life of Christ. So let us look at the example Jesus lived as He walked among us.

Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others. Philippians 2:4 ESV
In short…. life is not about me. In a, “It is all about me” -centered world, surrender is not the normal way of thinking. Jesus came as a servant of His Father, and the Christian should desire to live the same way…..sent by our heavenly Father. The moment we have a “serve me” mentality, we stray away from the example Jesus lived out loud before us. The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve. Matthew 20:28 & Mark 10:45 ESV Jesus served His Father by living the perfect life, and ultimately cared for our interest by providing the way of escape from our sins.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7 ESV
As I have taught multiple times…. everything begins in the mind, and humility is a mindset of living on purpose with the purpose God has for you. Jesus, who absolutely deserved to be worshipped, emptied himself of who is he was and became a servant. He washed feet, fed the hungry, and healed the sick. He kept his mind on the purpose for which he ultimately came… to save sinners and to provide eternal life for all who would believe.

Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8 ESV
A book title by Max Lucado says it best: “He chose the Nails.” He who could have called legions of angles, who deserved to be worshipped, who absolutely did not deserve to die, chose to do so in the most agonizing way. The ultimate picture of humility was God’s Son dying on a cross intended for us. He did not do it because we deserved it; He did it because He loved us. True humility will always be an act of love for God and others. Humility is the seed that blooms as the beautiful flower of a life that brings God much glory.

Start right where you are. Be careful not to compare yourself to others, for comparison is one of the killers of humility. God has enabled you with gifts for the purpose of serving others. Humility grows through serving others in obedience. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10 ESV Humility is to be God-focused, expecting nothing in return but done for the purpose of bringing Him glory. It is seeing your need for God to do a work in and through you and to complete the purpose for which you were made. Live on purpose for God in humility. Consider others, and most importantly Him, as more important than yourself.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Kindness …… March 17, 2019

Be kind to one another…. Ephesians 4:32a ESV

My mind has been thinking about kindness all week long. I have asked myself over and over, “What does being kind to someone really look like?” Is it handing money to someone who is holding a sign? How about taking cookies to the neighbor next door, or a meal to a sick friend? What does pure, unadulterated, with-no-strings-attatched kindness look like? I suppose if I were to ask multiple people that question, I would receive multiple definitions or opinions. So how do I answer that question? According to a dictionary, the definition is: “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” As in all questions in life, we should look to Jesus for the answers, for in every way, He ultimately lived examples of kindness toward those around him. Let us take the three dictionary definitions and compare them to how Jesus lived.

FRIENDLY: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:12-13 ESV Being friendly can create a good feeling, but what about being friendly to those who don’t deserve it? I see Jesus laying down His life for those who would later be His friend, before they even considered being so. In other words, being friendly could require sacrifice on our part to accomplish something greater than could ever be imagined. Jesus was criticized by those who saw Him hanging around with sinners. The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Luke 7:34 ESV Remember Jesus never sinned; He was the perfect Lamb of God, and it did not keep Him from showing kindness to those he encountered every day. Jesus displayed kindness from the cross when He spoke these words, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 ESV He could have called twelve legions of angels. (Matthew 26:53) Being friendly is easy toward those who are friendly, but being so to those who are not friendly may require sacrifice on your part…. sacrificing YOUR personal rights, attitudes of the flesh, and comforts, for the purpose of the gospel. As Christians, we should set the example ….. that’s what Jesus did for us.

GENEROUS: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34 ESV If your acts of kindness are just for making you feel good, then it is for selfish reasons. But if it is to be obedient to God, then it doesn’t matter how it makes you feel. I want you to think of kindness in love as something that will bring much glory to God, and let that be your motivation. Jesus spoke these words, For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 6:38 ESV …. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. John 17:5 ESV What greater love can we give, than to show kindness? That should be evident in the life of the Christian because God has generously poured His love into our hearts. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5b ESV Being generous with kindness can feel a lot like work because kindness is not easy to show in every situation…especially to those who have not been kind to us. Remember, we are to: let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and GIVE GLORY to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ESV

CONSIDERATE: Have you ever met someone who seems to make life all about them? And you would like to say, “It’s not about you!” In reality, we might need to say to ourselves, “It’s not about me.” Consideration is something that is taught to a person and normally doesn’t come naturally. We train children how to share and be considerate to their friends, and rightly so, for it can improve their life experience. Perhaps it is time for some retraining of ourselves to be more considerate to those who might not deserve it. Let’s look at how Jesus lived this by example…. Let each of you look not only to his own interest but also to the interest of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being in the likeness of men, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 ESV Jesus considered us important enough to empty himself and die on a cross. Do you suppose we could empty ourselves by showing kindness and pointing people to the cross? This is not an easy work, but it is a work worth doing in a world that so badly needs to see the love that God has for them. It is in acts of undeserved kindness that Christ is revealed….. just like he has done for us.

APPLICATION: Be kind to one another. Ephesians 4:32a This next week, do something on purpose for God in an act of kindness toward someone who might not deserve it. To a person who cuts you off in traffic….smile and wave. To someone who cuts in front of you at the coffee shop…. buy them coffee and wish them a great day. To someone who is unkind to you in a store or at work…. give them a kind word or blessing. You are not responsible for their actions, but you are for yours. Be like Jesus…. even when they don’t deserve it, for this is how He has treated us…. while we were yet sinners…. He died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Forgiveness …… March 10, 2019

     Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 ESV

     The Bible provides us instructions for living, for all areas of our lives. One such instruction is the need to forgive when wronged or hurt by someone. Not forgiving can be compared to having a cancer in the soul that causes much pain and destroys any hope for the joy and happiness one should be experiencing in life. When a person is unforgiving, it multiplies the hurt experienced. It can also be compared to a wound that is uncared for and becomes infected. It intensifies and prolongs the pain. In short, no good thing can come from being unforgiving. The best way to start the process of forgiveness is to follow the example set by Jesus.

    Every action in life creates a reaction. The action of kindness can defuse a situation before it escalates into the action of destruction. Kindness is not weakness; in fact, it is quite the opposite, because it takes more strength to be kind when kindness is not deserved. Kindness is showing love toward a person even when that person may not deserve it. Remember how God loved us?
     God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV…….. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his GRACE IN KINDNESS toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV
     Be kind to others by remembering the great kindness God has shown you…… even when it wasn’t deserved. God’s action created reaction in every person that has ever experienced His grace.

     God wants to protect us by instructing us to have tender hearts. Tender hearts are teachable, but hard hearts bring destruction into a person’s life.
     Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, BUT WHOEVER HARDENS HIS HEART WILL FALL INTO CALAMITY. Proverbs 28:14 ESV
     Hearts are hardened when a person continues to do and go their own way with no regard to how God has called them to live. God has called us and instructed us to forgive others when they have wronged us.

     Have you ever heard the question, “How can I ever forgive them for what they have done to me?” Remember, forgiveness is setting yourself free from the pain and bitterness that will consume you if you don’t. Does a person who has hurt or sinned against you deserve forgiveness?…. probably not, but then neither did we, concerning our sin. (Romans 5:8) To forgive a person who has wronged you is to show outwardly what Christ has done for you inwardly. It is giving evidence of Jesus in your life and hopefully causing that person to see their need for salvation.
     Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21 ESV
     Some might see this verse as a way to get even through kindness, but I do not believe that to be the intention of this passage. Rather, the “burning coals on his head” is God’s conviction of sin that will never rest until either destruction or repentance occurs. The hope of our actions is that we can overcome evil with good by seeing repentance and the salvation of God experienced in that person’s life.

     How can a person ever live with a forgiving mindset? By dressing the mind with God’s wardrobe.
     Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, FORGIVING EACH OTHER; AS THE LORD HAS FORGIVEN YOU, SO YOU ALSO MUST FORGIVE. Colossians 3:12-13 ESV

     This might seem extremely difficult, but remember… I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV

Live strong in the Lord by living His word on purpose in your life!!

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Contentment …… March 3, 2019

     Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11 ESV

     Contentment is a rarity in our society of want and perception of need. It can drive people to an early grave whose life goal seems to be obtaining more and more of the things which are really not important. Do not misunderstand, we are tremendously blessed, and I believe all the material blessings that we have, came from God.  But we also must remember as Christians …… God owns it all. When we hold tightly that which God has given to us, those thing tend to own us. When holding things tightly, your happiness will begin to depend upon those things. In reality you are in the prison of greed and status pride. Godly contentment is enjoying all that God has given you with thanksgiving, but knowing that your happiness is not tied to those things. It is also being thankful when you have not been blessed with things and being thankful when you are in want or need. Contentment is loving God and using things, not loving things and using God. When God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is the focus of your life, as the old hymn says, “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

    We must remember our position as Christians in Christ and not let the logic of our day rule or control our minds. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. BUT IF WE HAVE FOOD AND CLOTHING, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10 ESV  This is not the normal mindset of a person – to only think about food and clothing; if not careful, the eyes will feed the greed in the heart. Greed believes you need and deserve more than you have already been blessed with. So what is the answer to “how much is enough”? According to scripture, if we have food and clothing we have enough. Let this cause you to look at everything else you have and realize you have been materially blessed beyond measure. But don’t let your happiness or contentment depend upon these material blessings. These words are easy to write or speak, but remember this mindset is one that is learned; it does not come naturally to the flesh. Paul made this evident in the verse above when he wrote, “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

     It is dangerous to look at the blessings of others and judge them for how they are managing the blessings of God in their life. This is not your place or responsibility, for it is God who will judge. When judging, you become outward/worldly focused, and it can cause a jealous spirit. You will compare the blessing of your life with what you perceive to be the blessings of another, and jealousy will begin to take root. Jealousy and contentment go together like water and oil…. they simply don’t. Paul, in the passage above, was speaking as to how he lived in all circumstances; may we learn from this and become light in the world by how we live. Let us look inward, learning how to live godly, that we might shine outwardly, bringing God glory. (Matthew 5:16)

     If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on the things that are on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2 ESV  This verse would be a good verse to focus upon this week while reflecting upon Philippians 4:11.  When thinking about Jesus, remember that when he walked upon the earth, he did not have earthly riches, but came to do the will of His Father. Christians are followers of Christ, and we must remember as servants that we are not greater than our master. (John 13:16 … 15:20) Let us not lose focus, no matter what our circumstances – be it blessed with plenty, or in need. Learn to be content by focusing on what is important …. our walk and relationship with God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David