Saturday, June 13, 2015

Redeeming the time

In Ephesians, is the warning and the encouragement to be " Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."  This word redeeming in the Greek has the idea of ceasing opportunity for good.  As was said in my previous post, prayer is true evangelism and seeing an opportunity to share the love of Christ involves praying for wisdom and discernment as is exhorted in James 1:5

Quoting Romans 8:28a ("And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God")
at a funeral, perhaps, as true and encouraging this is, may not be the best opportunity to reiterate.  

Some Christians see that it's more advantageous to sieze every opportunity,  regardless of the context in which the truth of God is presented.  This may be dangerous.  When Christians present the truth about God's love, or any truth about God, the presentation should be in accordance with God's character.  Back to our funeral example.  That verse is an everlasting, encouraging truth about God and promise to his children. Those who are dealing with immense pain and suffering that will last a very long time, upon hearing that, will most likely "write you off" or at least limit their interactions with you and future opportunities to minister will be lost.

Colossians 4:6 " Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."

This command in Colossians is very indicative of that parental advice you got as a child.  "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say it."  Though very good and Biblical advice, it only refers to the first part of this verse.  The first half of this verse, along with "redeeming the time" above, is no small feat and needs the watchful and prayerful discernment which can only be sought from the Lord. 

Everyday, there is a slew of reasons for believers to get angered or stressed. (causing a temporary loss of sober thinking).  Adding to all this is the word how in Colossians 4:6.  This tells believers that their is tactfulness involved in knowing what to say and when to say it.  Siezing every opportunity for the glory of God is needful and effective, when the situation allows.  (to be continued....)


How often have you seen someone “stay on track” until college, or twenties, and then "go off the deep end"? Christian faith seems to have all but disappeared and they seem to be embracing their new found “freedom.”

Sadly, I’ve seen that exact scenario happen over and over and over again.

Somewhere along the way we, as Christians, may have missed the point of why we do what we do.

To some, the Christian life has become a list of rules containing do’s and don’ts, and sadly we’ve left our Savior completely out of the picture.

A lot of people view Christianity as restraining them from the “real” fun.

They view Christianity as a list looking something like this…

Don’t have sex until you are married.
Don’t watch bad movies.
Don’t have boyfriend/girlfriend until you are ready to get married.
Don’t curse.
Don’t lie.
Don’t cheat.
Don’t steal.
Don’t drink.
Don’t, don’t, don’t.
The list of don’ts continues on and on and many of us have no idea exactly why we shouldn’t do those things. Much less a real heart conviction on our own.

That list of don’ts is an excellent list containing some excellent advice. That is if it’s viewed from the right perspective. If it’s not viewed from the right perspective, Christianity is nothing more than a rule book with checkboxes to mark off and good works to fulfill.  There are very good and Biblical reasons to avoid all of the above, and a Christian should avoid those things.

Over the years, I have come to understand the “why” behind the do’s and don’ts.

In Matthew, part of Jesus' great commission is to go out into all the world and lead others to Christ.   I have also learned that true evangelism is not always "doing", but praying.  Praying for opportunities to witness to people and praying for God to be working in the hearts of everyone we meet, even before we share the gospel.  Later on in the Bible, Paul states that "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.  And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you."

Not all things a Christian does is rightly percieved.  Some believers are trying to minister to others, yet they have been "written off" by others or perhaps Christians take up a hobby that doesn't seem right to their Christian friends, but are then seen as "gone off the deep end".

Being mission minded is being made aware of the ultimate mission and goal, making Christ known.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Resting in the Sovereignty of God

          So often, we get caught up in the busy-ness of ourselves.  If we aren't caught up in ourselves, it may be ministry or simply getting our life in "order".  It seems we're busy with anything but God and resting in our relationship with Him.  Oswald chambers said:

          "It is never do, do, with the Lord, but be, be and He will do through you."

           There are always times a believer needs to rest in our relationship with God, but more specifically,  in times of busy-ness and times of discouragement.

          Usually, there is an apathy that accompanies our busy-ness, whether it be in ministry or self.  Being busy in the ministry is, of course needful, but at the same time, it is needful to rest in the knowledge that God will grow a ministry or work through a ministry, in His time and according to His will.  Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves to get the results in ministry that we think should be there.  In our thinking, when that doesn't happen,  we logically conclude that we have to do more, because obviously what we're doing isn't enough, instead of resting in the truth that God is sovereign.  Always has been, still is, and always will be.  We are commanded to be good and faithful stewards,  however, being busy can sort of blind us from resting and to "be still and know".  We are only human and have to remember that our bodies need rest and replenishment. But much more important than that is to rest in the sovereignty of Almighty God, to do what He will, in His time, and being led by Him. Too much activity, or "do, do" as Oswald Chambers said,  can and eventually will burn us out.  In Exodus 18 and specifically verses 17-23, Jethro advises his son in law to not do so much.  The context is that Moses was trying to be a mediator between the people and God, but the point is that he placed too much responsibility on himself.  Verse 18 is probably a key verse for this context.  Jethro tells Moses, "Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone."  God is sovereign over the results of a ministry and also will guide and lead in the amount of activity.   To rest in the sovereignty of God also assures to prevent burning out (otherwise we won't be of use to God).

           It is also human nature to think we need to better our lives.  It's human nature to create our own happiness in life, mainly by doing what our flesh enjoys.  Wherever a believer is in this life is right where the Lord wants them, whether it is fully surrendered over to God or in a season of backsliding.   God is still sovereign regardless of what we may think about ourselves, lives, or our current state.   Resting in the sovereignty of God brings with it an inexplicable peace and comfort.    The Lord is sovereign over the timing of everything in the believers life. 

            In 2 Corinthians 4:8, Paul says that "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;". 

           The passage that comes to mind is in Acts 16 where Paul and Silas are wrongfully imprisoned.   Their circumstances were, quite literally,  discouraging, both physically and mentally, I'm sure.  Verse 25 states that they were singing praise to God, and praying, at midnight, (probably a time when, physiologically and mentally,  they would be the weakest.)  In other words, these men were resting in God's sovereignty, giving them an inexplicable peace and comfort.   It's definitely hard to imagine that situation,  but no situation is dire enough for the Lord. 

         The Psalmist said "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."