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
“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
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.
I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody all about Somebody who saved my soul
Casting Crowns, “Nobody”
I’ve recently come to love this song by Casting Crowns. But as I reflect upon it, I don’t feel like I’m living up to what the lyrics are saying. Am I REALLY trying to tell everybody about Christ? So many times, I focus on ME and not on others. I have plenty of family members who are not saved and desperately need Christ in their lives. Am I living out my faith? Do others see Christ in me?
Or do they see a selfish person, living in and FOR the world?
I think to myself, quite often, that I just don’t measure up. I don’t have what it takes….
How can God use ME? I’m nothing, a nobody. I don’t have the voice. I’m broken.
Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King I wish I could bring so much more But if it’s true You use broken things Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours
Matthew West, “Broken Things”
But it’s right there in Matthew West’s song, “Broken Things.”
God uses the broken people to bring glory to Himself. He uses the nobodies, the seemingly inept people. I know that I feel inept a lot. What can I use, what can I do to bring others to the Lord?
Moses had stage fright And David brought a rock to a sword fight You picked twelve outsiders nobody would’ve chosen And You changed the world Well, the moral of the story is Everybody’s got a purpose
Casting Crowns, “Nobody”
I think if I could relate to anyone, it would be Moses. When God showed up in that burning bush, asking him to speak up to Pharaoh to let His people go, Moses freaked out and begged God to send someone else. He didn’t think he had what it took. But in the end, God still ended up using Moses.
I’ve always wondered if this blog is my “voice.” Is this how God is going to use me?
Is this my opportunity to reach out to others to bring them to Christ?
I was doing my devotions this evening and came across a few questions that really made me think.
WHO are you determined to bring to Jesus?
WHERE are you willing to go to follow Jesus?
WHAT sacrifices will you make to follow Jesus?
On April 6 my brother had a stroke. He’s 54 and had 3 heart attacks when he was in his 40s. I really feel lucky to still have him on this planet. I feel God is really trying to get his attention. He still continues to smoke and I don’t see him quitting any time soon, despite our efforts to talk to him about it. He just doesn’t want to hear it. So if you think about it, please pray for him. The next time he has a heart attack or another stroke could definitely kill him. And for him to die without Jesus is definitely a possibility. Pray that we can get through to him.
We don’t have the best relationship so it’s going to be a struggle to talk to him but I know God will be with me. I need to jump out of my comfort zone, which I have been living in for quite some time now.
So to answer the first question….my brother. I’m determined to bring him to Jesus.
I’m reading a book by Kyle Idleman called “Follower: Becoming More than Just a Fan of Jesus.” It’s sort of a spin off from his book “Not a Fan.”
He explains in this book that being a “fan” of Jesus just isn’t going to cut it. We are called to be followers of Christ, dedicated and determined to follow Him in all we do.
He asks several questions throughout the book:
Have you made a decision FOR Jesus or have you committed TO Jesus?
Do you know ABOUT Jesus or do you REALLY KNOW Him?
Is Jesus one of MANY or is He your ONE AND ONLY?
Are you more focused on the OUTSIDE than the INSIDE?
Are you a self empowered fan or a Spirit filled follower?
Fans of Jesus worry about what people will think of them. Followers are not concerned with this and are determined to follow Jesus in all they do and say.
I definitely recommend reading this. Kyle really makes things clear on the difference between being a fan or a follower of Jesus.
…Being a Disciple Costs Everything…AND HE IS WORTH IT!
Then He said to the crowd, “if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow me.
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)
What does “take up your cross daily” even mean?
To me, I think it means taking all the burdens you bear and giving it to Jesus. It means walking with Him through the good times AND the bad. When temptations come our way, we hold them up to Jesus and keep our focus on Him alone.
We are called to give up our selfish ways and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. God wants us to deny our own life and desires and pursue HIS life and desires.
To be a disciple of Jesus, we must learn that this world has nothing to offer us. No matter how pretty or shiny the thing the world tries to offer us we must refuse it and keep our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowed of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
A Call To Listen to God
Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refuse to listen to Moses the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from Heaven!
Hebrews 12:25 (NLT)
Being a disciple of Christ means listening to Christ when He speaks to us. By rejecting Him, we’re rejecting his love, his grace. We’re rejecting eternity with Him.
But by listening to Him, by accepting His love and grace we have a kingdom waiting for us that cannot be taken away.
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping Him with holy fear and awe.
Hebrews 12:28 (NLT)
Our Eternal Home
You guys! This world is NOT our home. If you know Jesus as your personal Savior, you have so much to look forward to when Christ comes back. This worldly home is temporal. Our eternal home is with the One who created us, the one who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us so that we wouldn’t have to die in our sins! Because of His great love for us, because of the gift of salvation…we are free!
For this world is not our permanent home, we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
Look I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book! (NLT)
“People get ready!
Jesus is coming!
Soon we’ll be going home.”
–Crystal Lewis (song “People Get Ready…”)
I have so many family and friends who are lost. Who need the Lord in their life. They are blind to the fact that they are in need of Him. And it breaks my heart.
Yes, it breaks my heart but am I doing anything about it? Am I lovingly witnessing to these people often? Is my light shining for them to see?
I should want to see these people come to know the Lord! Where they spend eternity is crucial!
We should be on fire for the Lord, spreading his Gospel! There are countless souls who have never even heard the Good News. That needs to change.
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone TELLS them?
Romans 10:14 (NLT)
We must TELL them about Christ! We must be witnesses!
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth!
Acts 1:8 (NLT)
We don’t know the exact hour Jesus will return but He IS coming! And we must be right with the Lord.
You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
If you are familiar with the YouVersion app, you’ll know that they have different mini devotional plans you can follow. Currently I am reading the plan by Skip Heitzig called “What’s Next? Revelation Series” that takes me through the book of Revelation.
(Going through this plan has also made me want to reread the Left Behind series. So I’ve started book 1 once again. )
While we don’t know the day or the hour that the rapture will occur, (Matthew 24:36) it’s something I like to imagine will happen in my lifetime. (Though I’m probably wrong….) I would love to be alive when that trumpet sounds!
It’s like the lyrics from the song “Fly Away” by FFH says,
Okay you win, you caught me day dreaming again
About our sudden evacuation
Okay I give in, I can’t help but wondering
But it seems I can’t get enough information
Curiosity has got a hold of me
Tell me how it’s gonna be-when
One day I’ll see you coming back for me
And all together we’ll fly away yeah
One day I’ll hear that trumpet loud and clear
And all together we’ll fly away
Oh how I long for the day
When we’ll fly away
I can’t WAIT for the day when we get to meet our Savior face to face!
Matthew 24:44 tells us to be ready!
You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
In 1 Thessalonians 4 (NLT) we read that the Lord will come down from Heaven with a commanding shout!
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God. First the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
Our lives here on earth are temporary! Our citizenship, our permanent dwelling place will be in Heaven, with the Lord God Almighty!
Paul tells us this in Philippians 3:20-21 (NLT)
But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
Always be ready for Christ’s return! It will happen in a “twinkling of an eye!”
But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.
But I came across several verses in 2 Corinthians 4 that reminded me that our present troubles will not last very long. In verses 8-9 we read:
We are pressed on every side by troubles but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down but we are not destroyed.
Then further down in verses 16-18 we are told,
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone but the things we cannot see will last forever.
It’s so easy to feel sorry for ourselves, to have pity parties when things get rough. But God’s Word tells us that one day all our troubles will be gone. We will be forever in His presence where everything is perfect.
Also, in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Paul reminds us that God’s grace is all we need.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Can God take away my health struggles? Absolutely! Will He? I don’t know. But what I do know is this: His grace is all I need.