Be careful not to allow your zeal for knowledge get in the way of your zeal for a relationship with the Savior.
It is a good thing, an honorable thing to be a student of God’s word – but it is far more profitable to be a student of the Master Himself. Get to know Him – not just quoting scripture, spitting out historical facts, developing an understanding of the cultural implications of the Bible, showing off your Greek/Hebrew skills. But Get To Know Him!
Spend time in quiet prayer and contemplation and allow Him to reveal His character to you. You might be amazed to find yourself looking more like our Lord, Christ. You might find that your life will become a beacon of hope for others. You might become love to somebody. Your light might blot out the darkness of another. Someone might know truth – just by knowing you. Get to Know Him!
Lloyd and I were driving by a village in Ghana once where there had recently drilled a water well for the local community. There were young local children fetching water from the well. The children were pulling together on one rope to get their bucket out, and then came shock – horror! They were fetching the water in a turpentine can!
We lived among this particular people group, and we knew that the container was not washed out with soap and water or bleach or boiling water; it was only rinsed in the local pond until they couldn’t smell the turpentine and then declared it fit for use. This community clearly needed not only to know that clean water was important but they needed to understand what things would contaminate the water and what was necessary for them to avoid introducing contaminates into their drinking water. They needed to know that if contaminates were introduced – this water would bring death and not life.
There is a tendency in the Western world to believe that once we have shared the truth of the gospel with people and they have confessed that they believe – we have done our part. But I am a witness that what you leave behind is a person that believes the truth, but has no idea what the truth is, or what to do with that truth. They twist it to fit their circumstance, they ignore the parts that they cannot easily understand, some rise to a position of leadership and then exploit the little that they know to their own benefit – – some minister an adulterated gospel and taint the water for entire congregations! What is the answer??? The answer is to teach the complete gospel. That means that we go beyond salvation – and take people to the entire truth of the gospel.
We have to teach people to study the word of God so that they can come to know the person of God. If they can’t read the Word, we have to be willing to give the time and resources necessary to teach them how to interact with The Word; audio Bibles, simpler translations, etc. After teaching them to read the word or to listen to the word, we must teach them to interact in the word in such a way that it becomes something that they can apply to their life! When we equip them with these tools – they will know what the truth looks like and are less likely to fall prey to any contaminated word. When we equip them with these tools then we are preparing them to protect the word that is taking root in their hearts. When we equip them with these tools – we ensure that the word will bring them to the abundant life that God has planned for them.
But 🙃 – THIS. TAKES. TIME!! And, be honest, how many of us are willing to give our precious time to another?? I can tell you as one who lives a life of discipleship, that it is a 24 hour a day commitment. The women that I disciple call me whenever they need to, they visit whenever they need to, they invite me to delve into places in their lives that I don’t want to go! And I am also a witness – that you might have an 8 week program – but I have yet to disciple a new Christian in only 8 weeks! Discipleship is life on life – LIFE on LIFE!! It means (here I go again!) loving someone as much as you love yourself. Would you drink tainted water willingly?! I think not!!
Making disciples is easily defined as: TEACHING PEOPLE THE WORD OF GOD! TOUCHING PEOPLE WITH THE LOVE OF GOD!
Touching them with His love means that we’ll give our lives to them for the sake of His glory.
Interestingly – our Savior’s last words to us were that we should go, preach, teach and make disciples. He really did not say go, preach, teach, and get them saved! We’ve got to be willing to give our whole lives to the purposes and passions of our Savior and King – He wants them to know Him, He wants them to know the Father, He wants them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the words of my husband, “time has come to stop dunkin’ ‘em and droppin’ ‘em” – we’ve got to start counting them as so dear to us that we not only give them the gospel but our very lives. (1 Thess 2:8)
To God’s servant, those whom He has chosen, there is no other assurance needed! God is near, watching, guiding , protecting.
When we yield in obedience to God’s will for our lives and allow Him to use us to impact the world for His glory, there is no doubt that He will be with us. As those dearly loved because we have chosen Christ, we share special relationship with The Most High. Though we are unworthy and even sinful, He has called and chosen us! He used His own son, Jesus Christ, to make us His own!
Opposition in this world is sure!! But, Almighty God will vindicate.
It is our duty to follow wholly, obey completely … devote ourselves to His purpose AND trust Him with our safety, provision, and protection.
I’m praying that Our Father will help us to move past hurts and disappointments, because dwelling on those things causes us to fear! Our Father is worthy of our trust! He is a faithful master who loves us!
Father, I put my fears on You, asking You to slay them. I place my disappointments on You, asking You to show Yourself strong. I lay myself on You, asking You to protect me from our enemy and those He uses to distract and destroy. Place Your Word in my heart, so that I may trust in Your name completely!
The Lord says, “You, Israel, are my servant. Jacob, I chose you. You are from the family of my friend, Abraham. You were in a faraway country, but I reached out to you. I called you from that faraway place. I said, ‘You are my servant.’ I chose you, and I have not rejected you. Don’t worry—I am with you. Don’t be afraid—I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. Look, some people are angry with you, but they will be ashamed and disgraced. Your enemies will be lost and disappear. You will look for the people who were against you, but you will not be able to find them. Those who fought against you will disappear completely. Isaiah 41:8-12
It can be such a strong temptation to say things about our personal faith that makes us ‘look’ like more than we really are.
Telling friends that we pray for them every day.
Saying that we seek God’s leading for every decision.
Implying that we are trusting The Lord to meet every need.
Telling friends about things that we’ve done for The Kingdom, though we’ve really not done anything.
When we present ourselves to others as holy, when our minds are nowhere near that.
When we yell and scream in a worship service in praise to God, not truly, but because we desire that others see our holy selves.
It can be such a strong temptation to say things about others that leave us ‘above’ them.
Speaking a condemning word about people when they suffer a weakness of any kind.
Criticizing people when they fail.
Belittling and pulling away from people whose issues show openly.
We like to appear religious to people, but a person’s speech reveals the true self! AND though self deceived, God is not deceived! Religious is not a bad word … it means a person that is devout, doctrinal, holy, moral. A Christ follower that is truly religious not only believes, but their speech and action will match that belief!
We use the excuse of our weak flesh to discount the things that we say that mislead people or even drive them away from The Truth. We must be careful not to place too high of a virtue on the rituals of church attendance and service in a local body. We must be careful not to place too high of virtue on any practices, such as fasting – because we must endeavor to BE true Christ followers.
When we open our mouths and untruths flow from them, we have to know for certain that rituals cannot cover our words. Our words may make us fool ourselves, forgetting what we’ve seen in the mirror, and people too may be deceived with thinking that we are pious, or even worse, thinking that our bad behavior is to be mimicked or sanctioned. But God sees the heart … the true heart
“Bridle my tongue, let my words edify. Let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Thy site. Take charge of my thoughts both day and night. Order my steps in Your Word” – Glenn Burleigh
Father, place within us a desire to match our actions with what we claim to believe! Bridle our tongues so that our words will edify You. Use our words for Your glory. Teach us to speak truths ALWAYS in love. May our words bring live and not death! Amen
The pastor of our church is doing a series about The Perfect Church … it is a powerful series and has my mind on a lot of things ….
There are many among the Christians around us that are enjoying the fellowship and even the good name that come with being affiliated with Christ. There are those who are in community with us, however who are playing the harlot.
While it would be easier for us to leave them to their own devices so that they will meet a pre-ordained end, the Word of God calls for those of us who are true believers to snatch them from the fire.
This means that evangelistic meeting geared only at the unsaved ones are not enough! As we preach, teach and come into contact with those who profess Christ, we must also be careful to ensure that they know and adhere to the truth.
Discipleship is necessary because is is only through their relationships that we will know that people are true followers of Christ and not charlatan. If we neglect what is necessary to expose people to the truth, we might as well have pitched them into the fire ourselves!
Reading stories in the Word of God about the Israelites, the people of God. Reading especially about their rescue from Egypt. They enjoyed the passage out of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, Manna from heaven, quails, water from rocks, and more … but, not all entered the promised land. The ungodly among them perished … and the faithful were not strong or committed enough to dissuade them from evil.
One of the things that ensures that we are truly the church is when we have a commitment to the huge purpose of toward exalting our Our God, Our Savior, The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords – completely! Exalting Him means that we are giving our lives completely to Him for His purposes AND that we are reflecting Him to everyone around us … turning them to Him so that they too will exalting Him completely! If we are truly the church our desire should go far beyond merely having a fellowship with people.
So … what about you?
Father, Give us hearts that are discerning the deepest spiritual needs of the people around us. Let us not be too lazy or too busy to ensure that those who profess actually believe? Let us know become so complacent that we do not see our brothers and sisters and case they to meet destruction. Forgive us for those we have already neglected. Use us to be light in this dark place. Bring alive in us Your ministry of reconciliation!
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.--Romans 8:38-39