Our Need for Improvement

Our Need for Improvement

This article is a reminder for each of us to focus upon our own, individual need for improvement rather than to look around at other people’s failings. 

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  (Mt 7:3)

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  (Lk 18:11)

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  (Joh 8:7-9)

As human beings, we have a tendency to look at other people and compare ourselves to others.  Most of the time, we do that when we want to see ourselves as “not being so bad.”  Other times, we look around at the circumstances of other peoples’ lives and we feel jealous.  It is not good to compare ourselves to others; it is what the Bible would term as foolishness.

As the verses shown above demonstrate, we should never focus on other people.  (2 Cor 10:12)

Also, there are a number of Scriptures instructing us to avoid comparing ourselves.  (Exo 20:17; Mt 7:1-2; Joh 21:22)

Rather, we should focus upon Jesus Christ and yearn to follow in His footsteps.  As we focus upon Christ, He will shower us with His love and encouragement.  He will give us a purpose and a plan for our lives, as well as all of the grace and mercy that we will ever need to fulfill that plan.  (Jer 29:11; 32:19; Pro 16:4; 19:21; 1 Cor 2:9)

Let us trust the Lord Jesus to transform us in His own way, in His own time.  We are His workmanship, and He will see the work through to its completion.  (Eph 2:10; Phil 1:6)  Just trust Him and trust His plan for you!  God bless you.

Lay Aside Every Hindrance

Lay Aside Every Hindrance

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Heb 12:1-2)

A hindrance is something that holds us up or slows us down.  In this verse, we’re told to lay aside every “weight.”  This passage reminds us to put aside every hindrance, weakness or barrier that would attempt to slow us down in our race to eternal salvation.

We must run our race with patience.  How do we run with patience?  We run resolutely, persistently, and uncomplainingly. 

The Lord Jesus gives us stamina, purpose and fortitude as we trust Him to strengthen us, and to pour out His grace upon our lives.  Jesus is called the “author and finisher” of our faith.  We must cling to Him and to our faith in His finished work.

Jesus is our example, and He didn’t weaken, yield or hesitate in His destined path to the cross on Calvary.  Jesus knew Who He placed His trust and hope in; Jesus placed it in His loving, heavenly Father who would never fail.  We need the same life mindset that is expressed in the following Bible verse:

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.  (2 Tim 1:12)

Commit your faith, your life, and your path to the Lord Jesus, the faithful One. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)

Clothed With Power?

Clothed With Power?

God is the only One who can bestow special power upon people.  His purpose for doing so is to enable witnesses to broadcast the gospel [good news] of Jesus Christ to the world.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  (Eph 3:14-21, emphasis added)

Note that our witness, according to verse 17 above, is to be rooted and authenticated in LOVE!  This will result from our own experience of the love of Christ for us. (v. 19)  Love is the bond of perfection, and it must be our sole motivation for all ministry.  (Col 3:14)

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.  (Lk 24:49 NIV)

In Luke 24, Jesus was instructing His followers to wait for the arrival of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  The disciples wouldn’t have received the grace that they needed to be effective witnesses for Christ until then.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  (Acts 1:8)

The indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to obey the instructions that Jesus gives us in Matthew 10:8 – Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Fulfill your mission, brothers and sisters!  Share the power that God has placed within you now . . . today!

How to Grieve After the Death of a Loved One

How to Grieve After the Death of a Loved One

These are some of the Bible characters who experienced loss and sorrow:  Job, Naomi, Hannah, and David.  We can see that grieving (mourning) is a normal human experience that comes to all people at some point in their lives.  There is nothing wrong with grief or mourning.

Grief can serve a purpose in that it can revitalize our assessment of life.   There is a boundary to grieving—after a season, it comes to an end.  Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  (Ps 30:5)

One very important truth to remember is that God is always faithful, even in times of mourning. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  (Ps 23:4)

You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?  (Ps 56:8)

The Lord not only sees our tears, but He accumulates them!  He sees our tears and our grief, and does not disdain them.  Rather, He accompanies us in our grief.  He supports us with the knowledge that He is with us; He’s in control; He is praiseworthy; and that He will carry us through into a good place.

Be still, and know that I am God . . . (Ps 46:10a)

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night . . . (Ps 91:1-2) 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  (Rom 8:28)

Thankfully, the Lord is strong and He desires to carry our burdens, including this very heavy one.  (Mat 11:30) 

In the grieving process, it’s vital to communicate our grief to the Lord.  Feel free to pour out your heart to Him.  We can see this happening in various Psalms.  (Psalm 13; 23:4; 30:11-12; 56)  Note that the psalmist frequently ends in a different emotional state than when he began—often by praising God.  God hears us, and He understands what we’re going through.

You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  (Ps 139:2)

As we share ourselves with the Lord, we’re able to open our minds to His truths.  We come to sense His love, His faithfulness, and His comfort.  As we turn to the Lord and communicate with Him, His peace settles within us.

Another way in which we can help ourselves as we mourn, is to speak with trusted friends, church members, and relatives about our pain and loss.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  (Gal 6:2)  We, as members of the body of Christ, know that we’re called to “weep with those who weep.”  (Rom 12:15b)  As we share our stories with the Lord and with loved ones, we can actually lessen our grief.

The Lord is the One who is the anchor of our souls (Heb 6:19), and He cares for us.  (1 Pet 5:7)  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)  So we KNOW that because the Lord never leaves us, He will forever be our anchor, our beloved, and our security—into eternity.  God bless you.