I thoroughly enjoyed the sermon this morning at church. Pastor David spoke from Romans 12:3-8
3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; 7 if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.
We all have gifts. Maybe some have more than others but we ALL have that one gift that can be used to glorify the Lord.
He really got me thinking this morning. I didn’t take notes but I should have because my brain fog is preventing me from truly remembering all that he said. I do know this: I have a gift and I believe it’s my talent for writing. David reminded us this morning to not think lowly about our gift. For instance, we don’t need to go around “woe is me, I can’t do anything right…” (I may or may not have been doing this the last couple of weeks leading up to my creative writing class that starts tomorrow) But we ALSO don’t need to go around thinking highly of ourselves. We need to think “sensibly.”
But if we are the body Why aren’t his arms reaching? Why aren’t his hands healing? Why aren’t his words teaching?And if we are the body Why aren’t his feet going? Why is his love not showing them There is a way, there is a way
“I wish I was popular” so I find the newest clothing item that all the cool kids are wearing.
“I just want to feel included.” so I start using curse words to fit in with how they talk.
“I wish I was smart enough…good enough…pretty enough.
Everyone wants to feel included when it comes to certain situations. We don’t want to get laughed at, talked about or looked down upon. So we dress differently, we speak differently and go through many different changes in order to fit in.
I’ve been struggling at work lately, trying to fight Satan as he convinces me that I really do want to feel included with the non believers.
I’ve been giving in to this desire every day. I find myself becoming more OF the world rather than just IN the world.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect
This world is such a hot mess. So much evil. So much negativity. It’s become a self absorbed world. A quote I found from Billy Graham really hit home.
As Christians, of course, we must live in the world. We must infiltrate the world with a purpose to help win the world. But we are not to participate in the evils of the world. There are certain things that a Christian must say no to—in politics, in the shop, in the office. We must show that we are citizens of another world, and many times we may suffer misunderstanding and persecution because of it.
Once again I feel like I’m focusing too much on what people think and whether or not I’m measuring up to their standards. It shouldn’t be this way. It shouldn’t be me trying to be like others. It should be ME being the person GOD created me to be. I’m trying so hard to fit in when I should be listening to God and remembering that He created me in His own image. He loves me and He longs to have that relationship with me. And here I am, pretending to be someone I really am not.
I’m longing for the Lord to hurry up and come back to get His children. This world we live in just keeps getting worse and worse. It’s unbearable sometimes. However, the Lord will come back when we least expect it and not a second earlier.
Who are You waiting for to come to know you? Is it me? Do I truly know You? Or is it someone else? Who is that LAST person who will come to know Christ?
“Until the whole world hears” This line from Casting Crowns popped in my head. THAT’s who You’re waiting for….the whole world.
Romans 10:9-13: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But how does this happen?
Romans 10:14-15-14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
It is US! WE are to bring the Good News to everyone we possibly can!
The curiosity in me keeps thinking, “Okay so WHO is that LAST person? WHO is that last person to come to Christ before He comes back?
Are we planting the seed in those around us? Are we doing our best to reach out to those who need Jesus?
Redeem: to buy back, to save by payment of a ransom, to free from the consequences of sin.
In biblical terms, redemption refers to the deliverance of Christians from sin.
In Colossians 1:13-14 it says, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. He rescued us from spending eternity in hell.
Let’s face it….we are sinners. We don’t deserve God’s love or grace. We don’t deserve to live eternity in Heaven alongside Christ. Sin has messed this world up so much and yes, we are born sinners.
We need a Redeemer and Christ came down to earth to save us from a life of damnation. He suffered and bled on that cross FOR US! Because He LOVES US that much!
Colossians 1:21-22: “This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. YET now he has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result He has brought you into his own presence and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”
When we come to Christ our debt is cancelled. We are citizens of Heaven!
Colossians 2:14 says “He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
I realized tonight that my brother is going to spend eternity in hell if he were to die tonight. Well, I have known it for awhile but tonight while listening to Thank You Jesus For the Blood Applied I broke down in tears.
And I’m running out of time. I have had plenty of time to talk to him about Jesus Christ. And what have I done? I avoid him at all costs. We don’t have the best relationship. He IS 17 years older than me after all. Not that age matters but it’s just so hard to speak to him. Why do I have such a hard time?
He has had 3 heart attacks and a stroke and miraculously he’s still alive. He suffers from emphysema and he will be going for a CT scan of his lungs. He has been smoking since he was 13, possibly even younger and he’s 55 now.
I’m not going to lie….I have a huge feeling he has lung cancer. I’m not a doctor of course and I hope and pray I’m wrong. Honestly? I think HE thinks it’s cancer. He watched his own father slowly die because of smoking and yet it’s not enough to make him quit. I know he knows he needs to quit and I don’t know what its going to take for him to quit. One would think the heart attacks and stroke would scare him into quitting but sadly it has not.
He needs Jesus and this whole time I could be talking to him, telling him God loves him and what am I doing? NOTHING! I just don’t know HOW to talk to him.
I know he knows he needs to get his life straight with Jesus. He grew up in church, after all. He knows but has chosen not to believe.
Please pray for my brother and please pray for me to figure out a way to talk to him. He’s going to die and his blood will be on my hands because I could have done something. I could have planted the seed.
“These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.”
“No one is so miserable as the poor person who maintains the appearance of wealth.” Charles Spurgeon
I am going to be vulnerable with you all for a moment. Sometimes I struggle with whether or not I’m being hypocritical when I write blog posts about faith in the Lord or when I post things on my IG.
Do my actions in the real world reflect my actions online? I’ve been doing some digging on this subject and decided to write about it.
Definition of a hypocrite:
1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion. 2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
Question: Have you ever felt like sometimes you could be a hypocrite when it comes to your relationship with the Lord?
I have felt like that once or twice. I get to thinking about this blog and things I post on social media and wonder if I’m being a hypocrite sometimes. Do my actions outside my blogging world and my social media world show that I am a follower of Christ?
Basically, do I practice what I preach? (or blog/post) Do I reflect Jesus when I come face to face with unbelievers. Or do I try to “fit in” with them? Do I have one foot in, one foot out? We can’t ride the fence though. We are either all in or all out. Otherwise, when we face Jesus…and we all will…what is He going to say to you? Will He tell you “Well done my good and faithful servant? Or will He tell you, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
That passage of Scripture, found in Matthew 7:21-23 has always scared me a little. It makes one truly think about their standing with the Lord. One can’t be a Christian AND a hypocrite. It’s an oxymoron.
I found this website called BibleReasons.com where you can look up any subject and it pulls Scripture related to that subject. This is what I found regarding hypocrisy:
“Are there religious hypocrites out there who try to appear holy and smarter than everyone else but are filled with hypocrisy and wickedness. Of course, but there are also people who seek to do God’s will above everything else. Sometimes people are just immature believers.”
“Hypocrites talk about Jesus, pray etc…but their hearts are not cooperating. Many people know the Bible front and back but they are not living the life that they recite to others.”
This quote below is how I finally realized that my fears of hypocrisy are not real. After I read it I felt confident that I am not a hypocrite. Another quote I came across says “the fact that you’re wrestling with doubts and fears about your standing with God leads us to think that you can’t be guilty of rejecting Christ. If you were, you wouldn’t be worried about it” Awhile back I struggled with the thought that I had rejected Christ, that I had committed the unforgivable sin.
Hypocrites may have remorse over their sins but they never change. There is a difference between worldly and godly sorrow.Godly sorrow leads to repentance.. With worldly sorrow you are only sad that you got caught.
I was talking to a fellow blogger about my feelings of hypocrisy and she was very helpful. She suggested that what I could be was experiencing condemnation. All Christians go through it. We realize and see where we fall short. We realize our need for a Savior. It’s a good reminder of why we need to cling to Christ and His Word.
There are a lot of people in the world today who claim to be Christians yet their lives do not reflect Jesus. They are “Christian” in name only. They don’t read their Bible, they attend church two times a year (Christmas and Easter), their prayer life is non-existent. It’s these very people who we need to be witnessing to.We need to be concerned with their eternal future!Because one day the Lord Jesus IS coming back and if you’re not right with the Lord, you will hear these words, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” (shudders)
A Christian in Name Only, also called a cultural Christiannominal Christian or more often, a liberal Christian, is someone who professes to be a Christian in public but has a considerable lack of knowledge about the basic tenets of one’s professed faith, often “knowing” it only from what is half-remembered from Sunday school or from pop-cultural osmosis. To put it another way, a Christian in name only is someone who “would call himself a Christian, or be so regarded by others, but who has no authentic commitment to Christ based on personal faith.”
The world says that they don’t go to church or believe in God because all Christians are hypocrites. No, all Christians are sinners, just like the world. “The church is a hospital for sinners. Romans 3:23 tells us that “we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Some more quotes I found to be useful:
Don’t let your lips and your lives preach two different messages.
Your most powerful testimony is how you treat others after the church service is over. And this last quote really got to me…..
What a heartbreak it would be to live an “almost” Christian life then “almost” get into Heaven.
(I do believe I’m going to have to make this into two blog posts. There is so much to learn about hypocrisy and “almost Christians”.)
I’m going all in Head first to the deep end I hear You calling And this time the fear won’t win I’m going, I’m going all in I’m all in, I’m all in All in I’m all in, I’m all in I believe that one day I will see Your kingdom come And I wanna hear You say, “Welcome home My child, well done” So, I step to the edge and I take a deep breath
Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways then they will die in their sins and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent they will die in their sins but you will have saved themselves.
It is our duty to tell others about Christ. It is our responsibility. As followers of Christ we are called to present the Gospel to the lost. I came across a quote by Timothy Simpson the other day, “The Great Commission is hindered when the Great Commandment is disregarded” and it really got me to thinking. We owe it to the person who is a lost sinner just like we were before Christ. We owe it to their eternal future. We are called to love them, to not want to see them die without Christ.
I needed shelter, I was an orphan Now You call me a citizen of Heaven When I was broken, You were my healing. Now your love is the air that I’m breathing. I have a future, my eyes are open.
Passion (featuring Kristian Stanfill)
What are we doing with our time? Are we spending it on ourselves? Are we ignoring God’s plea to reach out to those who don’t know the Lord? If I’m being honest I’m spending way too much time on myself and not enough time witnessing.
My pastor recently preached a sermon series on the story of Jonah. If you’re not familiar with the story, Jonah was called to go preach to the wicked living in Nineveh. Jonah was like, “Nope, nope, nope. Not doing that!” Jonah knew how wicked they were and fled in the opposite direction to Joppa where he discovered a ship heading towards Tarshish. He hopped on board hoping to escape the Lord. “But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. So the captain went down after him. How can you sleep at a time like this? he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god. Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives. (Jonah 1:4-6, NLT)
So the sailors cast lots to try to figure out which god caused the terrible storm. Jonah was honest with them and told them to throw him into the sea. Once this happened the storm stopped at once! And the Lord caused a “great fish” to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the whale for 3 days and cried out to the Lord and the Lord had the whale spit him out on dry land.
Finally, the Lord once again told Jonah to head to Nineveh and this time Jonah obeyed. He headed to Nineveh and warned the city that in “forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed.” (Jonah 3:4b) Nineveh’s king heard Jonah and announced to the crowd “People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence” (Jonah 3:8)
And so when God “saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:10)
How many times is God going to ask us to reach out to the lost? How many times are we going to run the other way?
We must do better. We must love them so much that we can’t bear it if they were to die without knowing the Lord, spending an eternity in hell.
We must love. We must care. We must obey the Lord.
So apparently this song came out in 2018 and I’m just now hearing it! I was listening to Amazon Music when this song popped up and literally stopped me in my tracks.
Take a look at some of the lyrics!
We want our coffee in the lobby We watch our worship on a screen We got a Rockstar preacher Who won’t wake us from our dreams We want our blessings in our pockets We keep our missions overseas But for the hurting in our cities Would we even cross the street?
But we wanna see the heart set free and the tyrants kneel The walls fall down and our land be healed But church if we want to see a change in the world out there
It’s got to start right here It’s got to start right now Lord, I’m starting right here Lord, I’m starting right now
What are we doing to bring others to Christ? What are we sacrificing? ARE we sacrificing? Or are we too caught up in our comfort zone to even think about lost souls?
As we say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 may it be our mission to start right here! To reach those who are lost, to proclaim the Gospel!
Why do we find it difficult to break the silence about the best news and most important Person the world has ever known?
Herb Vander Lugt
Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
***I’ve never had so much trouble writing a post. But Satan knows this message is meant to be shared and he tried everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, he could to prevent me from writing this. But God wins. Every time, God wins.***
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16, NLT
What does it meant to be a light in the world?
As believers, we are called to be the light in the darkness of the world. But what does it mean?
Jesus is the light of the world. It says so in John 8:12! “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me you won’t have to walk in darkness because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Don’t hide your testimony or be ashamed to take your Bible to work. Don’t be afraid to pray over your lunch at school. Let others know that you love the Lord Jesus.
There is a movie called I’m Not Ashamed that I’ve mentioned before but it’s such a powerful movie that I want to talk about it again.
The movie is based on Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim in the Columbine shootings back in 1999. Her story is so uplifting and moving.
I don’t understand this but for some reason I’ve always been drawn to her story. Her legacy has brought so many people to Christ. I have a couple of books that were written based on her journals she kept. She kept many journals. And guess what? She struggled just like anyone else.
She wasn’t perfect, not even close. She had her share of struggles with all things that most teens struggle with. She just chose to stay close to Christ in order to fight her demons.
Rachel genuinely had a love for others and was so compassionate towards them despite the way they treated her. She showed her love in many aspects of her life and worked hard to be the person God created her to be.
Rachel made the decision to “love people with a heart of compassion and see and love people as Jesus does.
Colossians 3:12-13 says “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.” (ESV)
I want to live a life like that. A life devoted to Christ and serving His people. I want to be able to show compassion towards those that don’t necessarily show compassion towards me.
I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to be that light that shines so bright that makes people ask what is so different about me.
Living Like Jesus
There is a song called Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns that I absolutely love. I feel the lyrics say it all.
“The world is on their way to You But they’re tripping over me Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded A plank eyed saint with dirty hands”
How can we live like Jesus if we’re stumbling blocks to unbelievers? How will they see Jesus if we’re not living a life pleasing to Christ?
We must live like Jesus. Truly live for Him, living in such a way that oozes the love of Jesus and His light. So what does living like Jesus look like?
Romans 12:2 tells us “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)
By copying the behavior and customs of this world we aren’t living as a light in this world. We aren’t living like Christ. We are to let God transform us into a new person so that we can shine God’s light wherever we are.
Being a light in this hate filled world won’t always be easy but we owe it to unbelievers everywhere to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
Further in Romans 12 Paul tells us “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. When Gods’ people are in need be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (Romans 12:9-13 NLT)
People notice our actions, our words. And by living as a light we have a chance to speak God’s Word without even saying a single word. People will take notice of the way we are living our life and it’s going to make them question what exactly it is that makes us different.
We must love like Jesus.
The light of the world we share is Jesus. As they see glimpses of Him and His truth, they are drawn to Him.