Christianity 201

October 1, 2019

Envying the Lost?

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:32 pm
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Once again we return to the blog Brothers of the Book, written by Bill Hood. Click the title below to read this at its source.

Let Not Your Heart Envy Sinners

Proverbs 22:17–24:22

Our world is all about pursuit of selfish pleasure, and by worldly standards the most selfish seem to succeed. Brother, Let not your heart envy sinners!

When I came to the following verse in today’s reading, I knew it had to be the focus of today’s commentary.

Proverbs 23:17-18 ESV
“Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

I have long lamented what I consider to be one of the biggest challenges to American Christians. It seems to me that we American Christians are far more influenced by the world than we influence the world. That is not how it is supposed to be. In the book of Acts, we read of a riot in which Christians were dragged to the town square for stoning because they were turning the world upside down; they were challenging the way the pagan world lived.

Acts 17:6-8 ESV
6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things.”

Further on in Acts, we read of another mob dragging Christians before the civil authorities because Christian teachings threaten their way of life. (Acts 19) America, it seems to me, is the Mecca of self-centeredness. Our culture is toxic. Just view our television, movies, or video games. Listen to the lyrics of our music and read the content of our books and magazines. Sex and violence, money and debauchery seem to be the man-made gods of our society. What happens when Christians stand up and share Christ, share Christian values? Christians are dragged before the media, our modern town square, with outraged cries demanding we be silenced. This in itself is enough to cause many Christians to avoid sharing Christ, and we need to address our fears of such treatment if we are to be obedient followers of our Lord and Savior. Before we can even deal with that, however, we must deal with the fact that our society has infected us with the fleshly disease of self-centeredness. We are influenced by the culture around us and, wishing to be like everyone else, we allow ourselves to become infected and this sickness to distract us from who we are and our purpose for being here.

Brothers, let not your heart envy sinners! They pursue filth! You are meant for greater things! The wealth of eternity is yours as a child of The Living God! Why would you want anything less? You have a future and your hope will not be cut off. Stop letting the world influence you. Start influencing the world for Christ. Expect to be dragged before the public for verbal stoning, but also expect to be joyously escorted before your Lord and Savior to receive your eternal reward! I can withstand the slings and arrows of this dark and dying world because I know what I have in eternity. How about you?

Vivere Victorem! (Live Victorious!)

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Dying to self, living to serve!

September 14, 2019

One Person at a Time

When I post something here or at Thinking Out Loud, it’s like I’m broadcasting to everyone in general but no one in particular. It’s the same on Facebook, though I am aware of the list of people who can interact with what I’m posting, but anything spiritual I post there is like preaching to the choir, because most of my friends are Christians.

Then I discovered the Christianity page at Reddit. It was a whole new world. I resisted creating an account since I’m already busy enough online, but after a year of wanting to add my opinion to various discussions, I jumped in. Now instead of scattering messages to the wind — some days it feels like that — I’m answering or responding to one person who is essentially asking for information or opinions. And I’m finding it more personally satisfying on the days I feel I have a unique response to offer…

…Today we’re back with Jack Wellman at the site Rhetorical Jesus. He reminds us that being the hands and feet of Jesus may not involve creating a website or launching a media ministry, but it might involve connecting with one person.

Click the header below to read this at source. Each day Jack offers a Facebook-ready, Pinterest-ready graphic that you can use to link to the devotional.

How can you change someone else’s life for the better today?

Matthew 25:35-36

For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.

Changing the World One Person at a Time

Many believe they can’t change the world because there is so much wrong with it. We see so much to do that we won’t do anything, but we can at least change one person’s life today. Perhaps like a ripple in a pond, the effects can keep extending outward when this person who is changed for the better helps to change someone else’s life–it goes on and on. It’s like paying it forward. It is a change that keeps on giving change to others. Jesus said that we can make a difference. When you see someone hungry, provide them with something to eat; when you see someone is thirsty, give them a drink; and when you see someone who is a stranger, make them feel welcome (Matt. 25:35). When someone’s underdressed, give them some of your own clothing; when someone’s sick in the hospital, go and visit them; and when someone’s in prison, go see them, or at least write them a letter (Matt. 25:36). You can’t change everything, but don’t settle for nothing.

Starting a One-Person Ministry

Have you ever thought of helping one person at a time? We have a nursing home ministry, which has touched so many but one precious lady in particular. This woman has family that lives far away. She doesn’t have any friends in the city, and she receives no visitors, so our visits mean a lot to her. I believe it helped me more than it has helped her. Our church elder sees those who are in nursing homes the same as those who are in prison. They’re not there for a crime, but they are imprisoned by their own physical limitations.  They cannot come and go as they like, so they are, in effect, prisoners of their age or disability. I think Jesus would see what our church is doing for the beautiful souls in the nursing home as doing it for Him (Matt. 25:40). What do you think?

Being Part of the Body of Christ

All believers have a ministry. Even though we might not be a pastor, we are all ministers of God, sent by Him to be part of the Body of Christ. In this way, even one person can make a huge difference in the world. The church is called the Body of Christ for a very good reason: We can be His hands that touch lives (Matt. 19:13-14; John 13:13-17), we can be His ears that hear the cries for help (Matt. 20:29-34), we can be His eyes to look for the crushed in spirit (Matt. 9:35-38), we can be His voice to tell people they must repent and believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15), and we can be His feet, bringing the good news to our own area of the world (Luke 10:1-6; Rom. 10:13-15). If we truly have the mind of Christ, we will esteem others better than ourselves and we will treat them as such (Phil. 2:2-8). Why not change someone’s life for the better today? Start one person at a time.

A Closing Prayer

God, my Father, I know You want me to be Jesus’ hands, ears, eyes, voice, and feet and that I need to have the mind of Christ. Please point me to where You would have me go to change lives starting today with one person, and in Christ’s holy name I pray. Amen