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Watch What You Say

This morning I came across a few verses that I thought would be worth repeating. Well, really worth the reminder.

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:4 says, A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

Our tongue is very powerful. It can be used to bring comfort or heartache. I’d say this also hold true when we use our written words. Social media has loosened our tongues because we don’t necessarily have to speak with someone face to face. We are allowed to speak our minds, hurt others or gossip without leaving the comforts of our own home as we let our fingertips do the talking.

On the other hand, what we say can also bring great comfort and encouragement. I love using social media to encourage others. I also love to do this in person. It is always a blessing to walk alongside someone who is in need of support.

Next time you feel anger towards someone or you want to give your opinion, take the time to pray about what you’d like to say. Sometimes the Lord changes your attitude and therefore how you express your thoughts. Sometimes He calls us to be silent and not say anything at all. In those cases where encouragement is needed He will give you the words to say.

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Golden Nuggets from Titus

I just recently read through the book of Titus. I can tell you it is chalked full of really REALLY good information or what I call “Golden Nuggets”.

Paul reminds us of several things in his letter to Titus:

Elders/Overseers: These men must be above reproach and must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:7-9).

Older Men & Women: But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:1-5). I personally fit into this category and need to be reminded about how important it is to speak into the lives of others. 

Younger Men & Women: Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (Titus 2:6-8). This reminds me of how important it is for young people to model good works, have integrity, dignity and sound speech. What you do in your youth affects your whole life even if you don’t think it will. 

Workers: Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:9-10). I understand we no longer have Bondservants but we can defiantly put this to practice in the workplace.

How we should act: Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2). “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:8-11).

The verses that really stood out to me where about what God did for us and why we should act according to what He says:

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

Take the time today to read through the book of Titus. It isn’t long but again, is chalked full of golden nuggets for us to glean from.


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“Fulfill Your Ministry”

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Several things come to mind when I read this passage.

“Preach the word.” Paul is telling us to be ready at all times to share with others about what Jesus did for us. To do so with urgency. Do you feel the urgency lately? We need to be willing to prove and refute what Jesus did for us. To rebuke what is false. To also be a source of encouragement.

Why?

Because, “people will not endure sound teaching”.

Have you been noticing what is going on around you? This hasn’t just happened but has been happening since Paul wrote these words in around A.D. 66-67. We’re in a pot of water that has slowly been warming up to the boiling point. The further away from the truth of God’s Word we get the hotter it becomes as people accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions”.

All around us people are yearning for the truth but not wanting to follow it because, well, let’s face it, sometimes following what God says can be hard. It causes us to take unpopular stands. 

Do you see people turning away to myths and how this has seeped into the church? I urge you to seek out a church that doesn’t twist the truth to make it sound pleasing and comfortable to the world. We are living in uncomfortable times and it isn’t going to get any easier for us if we choose not to satisfy our itching ears.

Here is the unpopular truth but the truth none-the-less . . .

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” The Bible is God’s Word and the only authority. We cannot choose to believe part of it because those parts make us feel good and reject the parts that are difficult to understand or make us uncomfortable.

Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Our salvation comes from Jesus Christ alone and no one else.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” We can no earn our way to heaven. This has nothing to do with our “inner being” or the steps we take to be a “good person”. We are saved through grace and Christ alone through faith.

How shall we be prepared to preach the Word? By sticking to the Word. This will become less and less popular and cause us all some hardship even amongst fellow Believers. We stand prepared because others need to hear what Jesus did for them. We all have a part in serving God. You may be serving Him in a foreign country, in your own home, work place or neighborhood. Serving God comes in all shapes and sizes and you fit into them somehow. However it looks Paul is encouraging us to stand firm and “fulfill your ministry”. The lost need to hear what Jesus did for them and you may be their only way to being introduced to Him.


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Condemning Ourselves

This morning I want to talk about something that was a lightbulb moment for me. Something that shouldn’t be a lightbulb moment but it was. The lightbulb moment: not condemning myself.

How many of you can relate to this? I’m thinking I’m not the only one who does this. I do it when I struggle with a sin. When I continue to fail again I choose to condemn myself because I think God is disappointed in me. This causes me to not go to Him immediately like I should and instead wallow in my own condemnation while I beat myself over the head with my failures.

What does the Bible say about this subject? “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

So if God does not condemn me for a sin He sent His Son to die on the cross for, than why do I condemn myself? I’m not saying our response to our sin shouldn’t be remorse which leads to repentance. But I am saying it shouldn’t keep us away from the Lord.

Satan wants to keep us in this trap of condemnation. He wants us to continue to keep remembering our past sins. This way we tend to forget God’s promises. We forget what Jesus did for us. We don’t claim the rightful position of being heirs of the Lord God. What does the Lord God tells us, For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). 

Realizing that I have been stuck on the condemnation wheel has been freeing for me. It doesn’t change the fact that I continue to fail and sin. It does change the fact that I’m no longer afraid to go to the Lord when I do.


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Do Not Grow Weary

Do you often grow weary and tired of watching the things of this world get darker? It can be very disheartening for sure. This morning I came across a verse I thought it was an excellent reminder for us all, “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13). 

This verse led me to a few more verses I want to share with you in hopes that they bring you some encouragement today:

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

 I Thessalonians 4:1 says, “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.”

Do not give up my friends because the world needs to see Jesus through you even if it is in you continuing to do good in a world that seems bent on doing what is wrong.


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No Other Name

This morning as I read through this chapter in Acts I came across a verse that I know is the truth – that there is no other way to eternal life but through Jesus. This is not a popular idea today as people are choosing to find their way to heaven through every “spiritual” avenue but the one true way.

Jesus Himself said,I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Acts 10:43 says,  To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

I Timothy 2:3-6 says, This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

No other person in history did what Jesus did for us. No other person in history could have done what Jesus did. Do not be deceived by today’s “spiritual” practices that mislead you into thinking you can obtain eternal life through yourself or anyone but Jesus.

If you don’t know Jesus and would like to know what He did for you I encourage you to go to read through the verses in the Want to Know Jesus section. Read for yourself  why we believe that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”


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Fragrance of Christ

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15

I will start off by saying I will not get too deep theologically into this verse. I understand that the gospel for those who believe in it brings about the fragrance of grace and a beautiful future with the Lord. It can have the opposite effect on those who don’t believe in Jesus.

As a Believer I know that I’m being watched by others. My actions and how I treat others is under a microscope. I want those who cross my path to see Jesus in me even if I don’t talk about Him. I pray as we go about our day that we remember the importance of being like Jesus.

May the scent of Him linger well after we have walked away.