Thursday, September 4, 2014



One thing for which our prayer warriors pray is more commitment within the congregation.  Why?  There are too many that may appear for study, worship, and prayer, but you can’t depend on their presence.  So many excuses are available:  too hot, too cold, don’t feel well, company is coming, a time for my favorite amusement (golf, boating, playing cards with friends, ball game, etc.), only time I can sleep in, and the list goes on and on.  These excuses would not suffice for a job, school, or some other real life obligation such as a fireman or 1st Responder.  Church or private devotions are not considered as a real life obligation to the majority.  It is just a choice for the time-being.  It is nice but not necessary.

So what is commitment?  For one thing, it is a pledge.  We pledge allegiance to our country.  We honor, serve, and obey its laws.  Commitment is dedication.  When we dedicate, we devote ourselves, edifice, or place to a special person or cause with special honor.  We commit for safekeeping with trust.  When we commit, we are obligated and that restricts freedom of action in some other realm.  The question is: Are we committed to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, or are we committed to self and our desires.  The answer to this question determines our spiritual growth and the growth of the Lord’s church.

David was a “man after God’s own heart.”  This is what he wrote in Ps.37:5.  Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.  Did David sin?  Ps.32:5   Of course he did but he was quick to confess and come back to the Lord.  Ps.31:5   Another version of this verse says, I give you my life…  Isn’t this what we do when we become a Christian?  We deny ourselves for Jesus.  Matt.10:38

Committing is also “doing.”  Jhn.8:34   We must never be guilty of the wrong commitment.  Joshua gave a choice of commitment to the Israelites and then proceeded to give his commitment to the Lord.  Josh.24:15   When Elijah challenged the commitment of the people to God or to Baal, their commitment changed as they saw the power of the Lord.  1 Kgs.18:21,39  

Satan can distract us from our commitment.  Some disciples wanted to follow Jesus but they put it off for worldly reasons.  Matt.8:21   Many do that today.  I’ll follow Jesus when…  Peter was strongly committed to Jesus to the point of going to death for Him and yet who denied Jesus when He was on trial.  We forget.  Jhn.13:37; Jhn.18:27

Jesus committed His life for us.  Jhn.10:11   Can we not commit our lives to Him?  It is not without reward!  Lk.9:24,25; Jhn.12:25   Esther is such an example of commitment and reward.  She did not do it for reward but she and God’s people all experienced the reward.  As the Jews were to be killed, Esther was challenged in the danger of going unannounced before the king.  Esth.4:14   Esther showed her great commitment as she replied to the challenge.  Esth.4:16   God rewarded.  Esth.8:16,17

Do we say, “This is all too much to ask of us.”  So we sell our soul for the mundane things of this world rather than do without a few pleasures that never last, for an eternity of joy and glory with the Lord.  Lk.13:30   We are like the child that would rather have a piece of candy today rather than wait for a dollar next week.  We are after the here and now.  Jer.2:13   We become like broken cisterns that can hold no water spiritually.

Let us follow the advice of Solomon in Prov.16:3.  May we commit our cause unto God and reap the joy He has awaiting us.  Job 5:8,9   Paul committed the Word unto Timothy that they might be kept by the Holy Spirit.  2 Tim.1:13   We now have this committed Word in its completion that we need to keep.  Test ourselves (not others), how committed are we to the Lord and His church or are we guilty of those excuses?

Vic Knowles quoted from a new poll by the Barna group in his Knowlesletter.  51% of U.S. adults no longer think church attendance is important.  Only 2 in 10 adults under the age of 30 believe that church is important.  One-third of that group are anti-church.  People who show up once every 4 to 6 weeks consider themselves “regular churchgoers.” 

Astounding!  Where is the commitment?  Ask yourself where do I stand?   

To remember as of utmost importance (not nonchalantly), Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.  Ps.37:5

As an added thought, this is from the same source as above.  The 5 factors that the vast majority of preachers consider as a successful church: 1. Attendance  2. Giving  3. Number of programs  4. Number of staff  5. Square footage 

Where is this found in the Scripture?  No wonder the above statistics are happening.  Get back to the Bible!



One:  unity, undivided, identical, the same, inseparable, harmonious.  Why so much emphasis on this word?  This was Jesus’ prayer for his disciples and for us.  As the Father (God) and the Son (Jesus) are one, so Jesus spoke of He and His disciples being oneJhn.17:11   Then Jesus extended this to believers, His church.  Jhn.17:20   I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.  (Scripture)

Paul explained the oneness of His church in Gal.3:28.  Whatever we were before we became a Christian, that identity now makes no difference for we are one in Jesus.  A lot of enmity existed between Gentile and Jew.  That was erased through the cross.  Eph.2:16   This oneness is further explained in Eph.4:4,5

As we become a Christian, we are not alone.  We become part of Christ’s body, His church.  The “body” is used as an illustration of the church in Scripture.  Rom.12:4,5   This is fully illustrated in 1 Cor.12:12-20.  Each one of us is gifted in a different way but in our individuality we worship and work together as one.  Jesus’ disciples were different in personality and gifts and yet were one with Jesus as we have noted.

Paul had great joy if he could hear of the Philippians being of same mind, same love, united in spirit, and intent on one purpose.  Phil.2:2   This quote helps to define oneness in a Scriptural way.  As Paul wrote to the Romans he wanted them to be of the same mind with one another.  They could glorify God with one accord and one voice in this way.  Rom.15:5,6

Peter sums up our oneness  by being harmonious as well as sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and having a humble spirit.  1 Pet.3:8   If we are like-minded and live in peace, then God will be with us in love and peace.  2 Cor.13:11   Paul was in prison when he wrote to the Philippians, but he told them that whether he was released and was able to come and see them or if he remained imprisoned, he wanted to hear of them being firm in one spirit and with one mind as they strove together for the faith of the gospel.  Phil.1:27

As we are one in Christ, so we are one with each other.  Rom.12:5   We interact with one another.  Eph.4:25   This reminds us that “No man is an island.”  We might go off into the woods to meditate and worship but that does not suffice for our being part of the body of Christ.  Even Paul received encouragement when he was with other Christians.  Rom.1:12

Just because we are in the body of Christ, the church, this does not mean we don’t sin.  Jam.5:16   One of the well-known examples if given in Phil.4:2.  These two women were not living in oneness with one another.  This harms the church in the sight of the world.  Jhn.13:35   It must grieve the Holy Spirit.  Scripture instructs us against sins that distract from our oneness.

We cannot think we know all the answers.  That would be wise in our own estimation.  Rom.12:16   Another very common sin is judging one another.  Rom.14:13   It is true we must discern faithfulness in following the Word but even then Timothy was instructed to be gentle and not quarrelsome.  2 Tim.2:24   Are we exempt from that instruction?  When we “stand” for the Truth, hob-nailed boots are not the answer.  One goes, then two, then the false doctrine problem or moral problem goes before the church.  Doing this in love accomplishes much more to keep our oneness in Christ and save the soul in the wrong.

A method or decision does not follow our idea so we challenge another.  Gal.5:26   This causes us to speak against another one in Christ.  Jam.4:11   Complaining goes right along with this.  Jam.5:9   Rather we need to follow the instructions of Phil.2:3. 

To counteract these sins in our attitude against one another, we are given instruction.  Pursue peace and build up one another.  Rom.14:19; 1 Thess.5:11   As one in Christ, we have great care for one another.  1 Cor.12:25,26   We rejoice when our brother rejoices but have compassion when he is sad and needs comfort. 

In our differences it is so important that we just accept one another.  Rom.15:7; Rom.12:10   Our thinking is not the answer but we are subject to one another in Christ.  Eph.5:21   This attitude requires patience and forgiveness as we remember that is what Christ did and is doing for us.  Col.3:13; Eph.4:2

When we possess the sinful attitudes mentioned, we don’t really have a sincere love of the body of Christ of which we are all a part.  You don’t love your ear but not your foot.  Love is the answer to overcome our lack of these attitudes.  1 Jhn.4:7-12   Love will cause us to interact with one another properly.  Eph.4:32; Col.3:13;   1Pet.4:9

May we all be one as Jesus prayed in Jhn.17:21-23.  I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.  Jhn.17:20




How often we forget to say “Thank-you” for the kindness of others.  Even more important is a heart full of thankfulness to our precious Father in heaven for the kindness in grace and mercy He has showered upon us.  Our entire day and night is filled with His loving kindness to us.  David can teach us so much about thankfulness as he expresses it over and over in Psalms.  Ps.100:4; Ps.103:1-5

As we think of just what thankfulness is, we need to look inside our heart to see if we are just saying words or if we are we really thankful.  Thankfulness can be defined as gratitude, gratefulness, appreciation, indebtedness for whatever has been given or done.  It might be material but it could also be friendship, understanding, compassion, a listener, and so many other ways.

Anything for which we can be thankful for others, we can also be thankful to God for He causes or allows others to bless us in these ways.  1 Thess.5:18   In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Too often, our thanks is confined to food, if then.  Many times we say the words without sincere appreciation and gratefulness.  Jesus gives us several example to follow in this regard. Jhn.6:11   Habit it may be, but our hearts need to be full of gratitude.  We have so much for which to be thankful as we partake of the Lord’s Supper.  We are so indebted to our Lord for our salvation as we remember what He did for us.  Thankfulness from our heart would be part of our partaking in a worthy manner.  1 Cor.11:24, 27; 2 Cor.9:15

As Christians we no longer offer sacrifices that were required by the old law.  Now we offer spiritual sacrifices.  1 Pet.2:5   Our praise to God is a spiritual sacrifice.  Heb.13:15   We give our bodies as a living sacrifice.  Rom.12:1   Our financial offerings are an acceptable sacrifice that are described as a fragrant aroma.  Phil.4:18   David speaks of thanksgiving as a sacrifice.  Ps.116:17

Scripture gives examples of those that did not return thanks.  One of these was in Jesus’ life when He healed ten lepers.  Leprosy was a terrible disease and kept one isolated from home, family, work, and friends.  Yet when Jesus healed these ten, only one of them returned to Jesus in thankfulness for what He had done.  Lk.17:16   How often we accept blessings from our Lord as if we deserve them and go on our way without any recognition of gratitude.

Another example is found in Rom.1:21.  These knew God (just as we think we know God) and yet they did not honor Him as God nor thank Him.  We honor God when we thank Him.  Our appreciation of His blessings shows Him that we know the source of all He gives us.  David says that the righteous will give thanks.  Ps.140:13

Many are the examples of Paul being thankful for the faithful.  1 Thess.2:13;  1Thess.3:9   Paul was so thankful that they had accepted the Word and changed their lives.  Eph.1:15,16 is another place where Paul gives thanks and prays for Christians in Ephesus.  Their faith was strong and also their love for one another.  Does that show in us?

Jesus gives a strong example when Lazarus was raised from the dead.  Jhn.11:41-43   Those around Jesus thought this was a bad idea.  Jesus knew better and these verses indicate His belief that His prayer was answered before Lazarus came forth.  We, also, are to pray, believing.

We are commanded to be thankful.  Why wouldn’t we?  Yet this adds emphasis that we should.  Phil.4:6   We love the fact that we can place our problems on the Lord; however, we sometimes forget the with thanksgiving.  Do we have to be thankful when we are so anxious?  We are so thankful we can place our trust in our Lord.  Col.2:7   Paul commended the Colossians as their faith was established, that they were not just thankful but overflowing with gratitude.  They were also told to be thankful in Col.3:15.

Do we have to give thanks for everything?  Eph.5:20   This is God’s will.  Remember that we are strengthened with problems.  Do we want to grow stronger in the faith?  Jam.1:2,3   God gives us the victory, so we are thankful.  1 Cor.15:57   God sees us through.  1 Tim.4:4

Someday we want to be a part of all the thanksgiving around God’s throne.  Rev.7:12   Let’s start now!  1 Thess.5:18   In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.





What are your hopes?  Some hope for a new house, new car, a better job.  These are things that have not yet been acquired.  So what is hope?  Hope is a desire, a wish.  Perhaps there is a confidence in the future with a solid assurance that whatever is wished will happen, but not yet.  It involves trust.  Without hope, a Christian would be floundering in life but we have an anchor that ties us down.  Heb.6:19a   We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

As we think of our definition of hope, Rom.8:24,25 may give us some insight.  We don’t see our hope.  However, we can know that we can have this hope.  Eph.1:18   This hope was not an afterthought.  Paul used his hope promised to his ancestors in his trial before King Agrippa.  Acts 26:6,7   David mentions his hope in Ps.39:7.

Man has a tendency to wrongfully place his hope.  1 Tim.6:17   Another example of hope wrongfully placed is explained in Acts 16:19.  The evil spirit was removed from the slave girl and hope of profit was gone.  Sometimes we have hope until all becomes catastrophic, then we lose our hope.  This happened with all but Paul in Acts 27:20.  Paul’s hope was anchored, firm and secure.  They were saved.

Abraham was such an example of hope. Rom.4:18   The verse begins, against all hope.  Certainly, many things for which he hoped would seem impossible to the normal person.  Could we say that people of God are not “normal.”  Abraham’s hope tied him down to the promises God made to him.  Hope was his anchor that kept him firm and secure to continue in God’s way.  He was able to see his offspring which God promised.  Being the father of many nations was not realized in his time on earth but it happened.  Heb.11:1

Our hope is not realized all at once and this is where our trust and confidence in the future comes into play.  The Jews were given prophecies of a Messiah that was to come.  Matt.12:21   When that hope became a reality, many did not believe and so it turned to the Gentiles.  Rom.15:12   The Gentiles were then able to have a hope.

Those who believe, whether Jew or Gentile, now have a hope.  1 Tim.4:10   Because of our belief/faith in God, we also have access to this hope.  Rom.5:2; 1 Pet.1:21   As we accept Jesus as our Savior, our hope is in Christ.  Heb.3:6   Paul used Jesus synonymous with hope in 1 Tim.1:1.  Without Christ, there is no hope.  Eph.2:12

We learn through the Scriptures that by endurance and encouragement provided, we are given hope.  Rom.15:4   A person might hope for a new house but they would realize that it could never be obtained in their lifetime.  That is a dead hope.  We have a living hope.  We have confidence that it will definitely happen.  1 Pet.1:3   It is a living hope because Jesus paved the way by arising from the dead.  This provided a way for our salvation through His blood shed on the cross and then followed by His resurrection.  The hope placed in this salvation is the helmet of our Christian armor.  1 Thess.5:8   Paul tells the Corinthians that if our hope in Christ in just for this life, we are to be pitied.  It is so much more than that.  1 Cor.15:19

God’s love through the Holy Spirit gives us the power to keep our hope secure and strong.  Rom.5:5   This hope causes our lives to change.  1 Jhn.3:3   We are encouraged and strengthened  in good deeds and proper words because of this hope which we have in Christ.  2 Thess.2:16,17   This hope does not cause us to just sit and wait for it to happen.  After Paul had explained the second coming of Jesus, some were doing just that.  2 Thess.3:11   They were then exhorted to get to work.  2 Thess.3:13

Through it all, we have joy because of this great hope we have in Jesus.  Rom.12:12   Whatever happens, this hope will bring us through.  Titus 1:2   Just think, it has been promised before time began.  Our hope of eternal life lies in the fact that we have been made right by God’s favor (justified by His grace).  Titus 3:7   We hope for the righteousness which comes by faith through the Holy Spirit.  Gal.5:5

We are called to holy living so the divine favor of God will be upon us as Christ is revealed at His coming.  1 Pet.1:13   We must continue in our faith, firm and steadfast, and hold on to our hope that has been shown to us through the gospel.  Col.1:23

Our hearts overflow as we realize the hope that God gives us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Rom.15:13   Let us never release the anchor of our soul.  Heb.6:19a   We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  Ask ourselves, “Where do we stand?”        


Sunday, July 27, 2014


Brad Formsma

The many inspiring stories of generous giving given by Brad Formsma in his book of “I Like Giving” bears out the words of Jesus in Acts 20:36, It is more blessed to give than to receive.  The feeling of giving when a need is seen brings so much joy and satisfaction that giving begets more giving.

Formsma discusses what happens when we give, the science of giving, and many other aspects of generosity.  Giving involves the family as well as the community.  Receiving is sometimes a problem so Formsma discusses that as well.

Generosity changes the world around us; however, it changes us, too, when we focus on the needs of others.  This book inspires one to be generous. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014



It has been mentioned that our attitudes are such a large part of our Christian life.  Our attitude toward God as Almighty, knowing all, but compassionate, forgiving, and loving those who follow Him being of utmost importance.  Our attitude that we have of Jesus as our Savior, the One who died that we might have salvation, and lived that we might follow in His path is an attitude not to be taken for granted.  In order to stay faithful, our attitude toward the world is important.  Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.  Our lives must show this.

Now comes an important attitude—that attitude which we take toward our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Scripture gives us some warnings about our attitude toward one another.  Phil.2:3,4   We are too prone to think “our way” is the best rather than consider the other person in humility.  In fact Phil.2:14 commands us to do all things without grumbling or disputing.  The body of Christ is likened to our physical body.  Our arms don’t fight with our legs.  Jesus was not that way and He is our example.  Paul expressed a similar thought to young Timothy in his last epistle.  2 Tim.2:24   Just because Timothy was a young preacher does not mean we can be quarrelsome. 

Paul advised the Galatians about their speech toward one another as well as the fact that there was even envy and boasting.  These characteristics are not part of the fruit of the Spirit.  Gal.5:15, 26   James adds complaining against one another.  Jam.5:9   These attitudes will consume or destroy unity in Christ.

How could we be bound together in the body of Christ is we dislike one another?  That is a worldly attitude.  John reasons with Christians about this problem in the book of 1 Jhn.4:20,21.

When we erase the above attitudes from our heart, then bitterness will not spring up and peace will be the outcome.  Heb.12:14,15   We can then build one another up in the Lord.  Rom.14:10   Times come when we all need building up.  This is one reason we are taught to meet together.  Heb.10:24,25

A picture of the attitude of those in Christ is found in Eph.4:32.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  These attitudes are important in the church but they are also important in the home.  Paul also exhorts or urges the people of God in Col.3:12-15 to have the attitudes becoming to children of God for that is what we are.

If we have no love for others (2nd commandment) these attitudes will not exist in our hearts.  1 Pet.4:8-10   With love, we will be tolerant and patient with them as they will be to us.  1 Thess.3:12   If we love others, we will want to help them in any way we can.  Gal.6:10  

Hospitality brings people closer together.  1 Pet.4:8-10   How often was Jesus found in homes of not only friends but sinners.  This is one way to really get to know our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Just visit and share together. 

This way we get to know their burdens and joys and they—ours.  Gal.6:2; Rom.12:10-16   When we are together, we can encourage one another.  1 Thess.5:11  We can help each other in our weaknesses.  Rom.15:1   We can comfort one another.  2 Cor.1:4; 2 Cor.13:11

In following the lives of the early Christians, we find that they were willing to give to their fellow Christians in need.  Act 11:29; Rom.12:13   John relates our love of God to the way we care for others.  1 Jhn.3:17

Everything that relates to the Christian also relates to the “preacher” for he is a Christian just as we are.  However, Paul exhorts (urges) Christians to esteem them in a special way for their work for us spiritually.  1 Thess.5:12,13   Additional commands are given in 1 Thess.5:14.

Peace and unity is promoted if Eph.5:21 if followed.  This is not always easy but remember—we pray together earnestly and sincerely.  God will help us.  This was an important part of the early church and should be with us as well.  Acts 2:42

The following must be in our hearts, minds, prayers, and attitudes.  Eph.4:32   Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.




It has been said that our attitudes as Christians are a large percentage of our spirituality.  An attitude is a state of mind toward something or somebody.  With this in mind, let us look as some aspects of the attitudes we might have and attitudes we should have as Christians.  A Christian is a follower of Christ.  Matt.10:38   As a follower we are to have the attitude of Christ.  Phil.2:5-7  5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, We must follow Him in this life if we want to reap the benefits of life after death.

What was Jesus’ attitude?  He left the glories of heaven to become like us – a human being with the physical and emotional feelings that we have and yet He was without sin.  2 Cor.8:9    Do we think our problems are greater than those of Jesus?  Think again.  We do face many problems in the form of loss, pain, etc. but Christ did as well.  1 Pet.2:21   If we are following in His steps, our problems become lighter as we look toward our life eternal.  Life isn’t about the now only.  Matt.11:29,30    We are only pilgrims passing through to a better place.  Phil.3:20

Our attitude cannot be living for self.  If you have had a baby, you know what giving up of self is—your time, sleep, money, etc.  Why do we do it?  We love our baby.  The same is true with a loved one that is sick.    We should love our Lord even more.  Our love will show.  Jhn.14:15,23   If we want to follow Jesus, we must deny self.  Matt.16:24-26

Not only is our attitude to be that of Jesus.  Our attitude toward the world is also very important.  1 Jhn.2:15-17   We cannot desire the things of the world so strongly that it is impossible to be content.  However, sometimes this is our attitude.  Heb.13:5; Phil.4:11-13  

A human tendency is to want to be like everyone else.  Rom.12:2   When our mind is renewed as a follower of Jesus, this human tendency is done away.  1 Pet.1:14   We don’t want to be like the one where seed was sown among thorns and then  became unfruitful.  Matt.13:22  This attitude is one of worry about the things of the world and riches.  Our mind becomes so involved with these things that we are choked in our attitude toward the spiritual.  Give it to God.  Phil.4:6   Just because this is difficult is no reason to quit.  Keep growing in the ability to hand it over to our Lord.  2 Tim.2:4

Two attitudes seem conflicting concerning the world and yet are very important.  First, we cannot be a friend of the world or we become God’s enemy.  Jam.4:4   What was Jesus’ attitude toward those of the world?  He wanted to see them saved.  Lk.19:10   Do we?  When those of the world became followers, they became His close friends (apostles).  Others of the world He helped by healing and helping in many ways.  This caused many of them to become followers.  Jude 23   Jesus gained their trust in helping and showing He cared.  He did not become one of them in sin.
We can show compassion toward those of the world and give help in whatever way we are able without soiling our lives for Christ.  1 Cor.15:33   Be watchful and pray.

Paul had a great desire to help those weak in the faith.  Rom.9:3   What an attitude to have!  However, we think of the attitude of Jesus.  He died that we might take on His righteousness.  2 Cor.5:21   Paul became whatever he needed to be in order to win others to Christ.  1 Cor.9:22

A humble attitude is so important as we interact with those in the world.  Gal.6:3   In fact, it is important in our attitude toward other Christians as well.  1 Cor.8:2   The lack of a humble attitude will turn others away about as quickly as anything.

Even though we are to have compassion and try to help unbelievers, never are we to be bound to them. 2 Cor.6:14-17  Paul uses several illustrations as he gives this command.  This would apply to marriage with other marriage commands.  It would apply to business partnerships that turned immoral.  A person could get out of that.  Any kind of “binding together” must be considered.

We have yet to discuss our attitudes toward other Christians.  That will come next.  Meanwhile, may we be extremely conscious of the attitudes that we possess inwardly and show to others outwardly.  As we follow Jesus, may we have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  Phil.2:5