Blessed Repentance

Blessed RepentanceRevelation 2:1-5, “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”

“Repent”: in Greek, it’s “metanoeo”, means to change one’s mind, to think differently, to reconsider.

Five of the seven churches in Revelation were told to repent.  Repent is a fundamental thing to do.  When you repent, you want to change the way you formulate your ideas. Continue Reading

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God’s Word is a lamp to my feet

God's Word - Ink BottlePsalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

As we make our way through this dark and confused world, we should use the Word of God personally, practically, and regularly.  God’s Word provides light to walk without stumbling.  His Word reveals the truth to us. Continue Reading

When we set our eyes on circumstances instead of the promises of God

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”2 Corinthians 4:17

A young missionary lady lamented to discover that she was expecting a baby. She and her husband were ministering in a very primitive location in Africa, where they lived in poverty conditions, and they already had five children. It is such a burden to have children on a primitive mission field. There is never enough money, always too much work, and parents must endure the heartbreak of having to send their children off to school.

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When you are weak, He is strong

Rely on His Strength

The word “weak” (in Greek, “asthenéō”) means lacking in strength; not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain; not able to resist external force or withstand attack.

One of my many weaknesses is overcoming bad habits which I’ve held onto for years.  Through my own confidence and my own strength, I’ve tried to get a good handle on them, but within a couple of hours, or a couple of days, I revert back to my old ways.  Have you done the same?  Perhaps you have anxieties or struggles that you thought you had a handle on, but later found that the weight is back on your shoulders?  Do you feel discouraged or hopeless after tireless attempts to control your temper, selfish impulses, or bad thoughts?  Maybe your struggles are caused by physical, emotional or spiritual exhaustion?  Perhaps you feel that your resources have been drained? Continue Reading

Iron Sharpens Iron Relationships

Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”

Do you have a friend who, through their criticism or suggestions, feels like an 8 in stainless steel knife has just scraped against you?  Maybe it rubbed you the wrong way?  Not stab you in the back – that’s different!  But this feeling wakes you up, doesn’t it?  Maybe it snaps you out of a weird frame of mind that you had to break away from. Maybe it stimulates you to some anger, sadness, and disappointment or maybe to a revelation?

Do you have a true “Iron sharpens Iron” friend?  One to rely on for truth?   Maybe you have a friend with whom you could sit down and talk about spiritual matters and come away refreshed and strengthened?  Is there one who you truly care for enough to share the truth about each others faults?

Relationships are some of the most effective ways to help others grow and develop in their relationship with Jesus Christ. When iron is rubbed against another piece of iron it shapes and sharpens it. Friends can help each other improve by their discussions, criticisms, suggestions, and ideas.  Genuine friendship doesn’t respond with hostility but with humility to realize you’re being sharpened. It’s hard on you, but good for you.

True friendship in the Lord is not built on deception.  Even if “the truth hurts,” honesty can never harm if it’s given in love.  So don’t sugarcoat things.  It’s better that we “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), because the Spirit can use truth and love to build character, while the devil uses lies and flattery to tear things down (Prov. 29:5). “He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue” (28:23).

Flattery is manipulation, not communication.  What honest person would want to manipulate a friend?  It’s the sharpening of wits and character that comes through the frank and open interaction of friends.  “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (27:6).

How we accept and apply rebuke is a test of how devoted we are to truth and wisdom and how sincere we are in wanting to know God’s will.  “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise” (15:31). “He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding” (v. 32).

He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him” (27:14) Beware of the “friend” who loudly and frequently praises you and tells you what a good friend you are, because true friendship doesn’t depend on such antics.

 

 

How are you going to finish out the year?

Finish line

Ephesians 5:15-17 15 “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

How many of us set our expectations in stone, convinced that things will turn out just like we planned for the year? With the end of the year fast approaching come reminders of broken New Year’s resolutions, promises and regret.  Why do we seem to fail at resolutions? Continue Reading