Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Living for Christ: through praise

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving. It's a time that we can remember our blessings and thank God. Often we take things for granted... I know at times I do.

I have a small notebook/journal that I keep... I write down things I'm thankful for. It's nice to have because besides remembering my blessings I can look back and remember what I'm thankful for.

When we pray, or at least when I pray, a lot of the time I guess I'm asking things of God. But we also need to thank God, to praise Him.

He is the Maker of the universe, King of the world, Lord of lords, King of kings, He controls everything... He is God and He chose to send His Son to die on a cross, to take on Himself our sins, so that we can have a relationship with God. How can we not thank Him? How can we not praise Him?

We can live for Christ through being thankful - through praising Him. Because when we look at our blessings we can see how incredibly blessed we are and we have a more joyful outlook... not a negative one.

We can see the early believers living this out as well.

Acts 2:46-47, "They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people."

Psalm 100 says, "Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Acknowledge that Yahweh is God. He made us, and we are His — His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations."

It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving to be thankful and to praise God. Let's praise Him and be thankful.


What are you thankful for? What blessings has God blessed you with recently?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Living for Christ: through love

1 John 4:8, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

God is love. Everything about Him - His grace, mercy, compassion - reflect His amazing love. He showed us His perfect love throughout scripture. I mean He even sent His Only Son to die so that we could have a relationship with Him. He did that because of His love.

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

How do we live for Christ? We can't do it without love. All of our actions reflect something... all of our words reflect something. Do they reflect love? I'm not talking about the love between a man and a woman who are "in love", I'm talking about God's love. He is love. So if our actions and words don't reflect love, then, they don't reflect love. 

Last week we talked about spiritual gifts. And those are important. But even more important is love. Right after Paul talks about spiritual gifts and unity in the Body of Christ he goes on to talk about love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3, "If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing."

Love is the key. No matter how many spiritual gifts we have, no matter how much we give, no matter what gifts or talents we have... without love it's meaningless. 

I've read that scripture several times, I've always loved the chapter 1 Corinthians 13. But never before did I realize what I've realized now while writing this. 1 John 4:8 (verse shown at top of post) says that God is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 is saying that without love all of it is meaningless... God is love so without love then it's without God and apart from God all those things are meaningless. 

So what is love? Paul goes on to write what love is.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, "Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

Love is kind, patient, it hopes, it believes, it never ends, it keeps no record of wrongs, it rejoices with the truth, it doesn't envy, isn't boastful or conceited, it isn't selfish... the list goes on. Love sounds simply amazing doesn't it? God is all of those things and more. 

Let's strive to live for Christ through loving others. Love is the key. If we live without love we live without God and without God our lives don't mean a thing.


How can we put love into action? Any favorite Bible verses about love? Any thoughts on the subject?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Living for Christ: spiritual gifts

Last week we talked about the Holy Spirit. The Holy spirit equips us. When we believe on Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have the Holy Spirit dwell within us.  God gives us spiritual gifts for His glory.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6, "Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person."

There are many spiritual gifts... Paul goes on to mention some in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 and in Romans 12:6-8.

We can live for Christ using these spiritual gifts. Each of these gifts help us to serve Christ. He equips us each differently and for different reasons. He gives some of us the gift of encouragement and you should use it to encourage others. He gives others the gift of teaching and you should use it to teach. He gives others of us the gift of mercy which you can use to show compassion to others.

It's good to know our spiritual gifts, to know how we can best serve the Lord, but please know if you think you don't have giving or mercy isn't your spiritual gift doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. We should still give, show mercy, and encourage others - even if it isn't our spiritual gift.

Also, even though we have different spiritual gifts we are still the body of Christ... and should be united. We can go more into that in a different post.

1 Corinthians 12:11, "But one and the same Spirit is active in all there, distributing to each person as He wills."

If you are a follower of Jesus God has give you spiritual gifts. Use those gifts for His honor and glory. Seek to glorify Him in all that you do.

If you aren't sure what your spiritual gifts are then you can take a spiritual gifts test here.


What are your spiritual gifts? How do you use them for God? Or how can you use them for God? Any thoughts on the subject?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Living for Christ: With the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:8 says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

After Jesus rose from the dead after dying on the cross, before He ascended back to heaven, He promised something to His disciples. He promised them that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit upon them after He left. That way they weren't going to be left on their own. No, they were left with the Holy Spirit.

John 14:26, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you."

And Jesus' promise was fulfilled...

Acts 2:1-4, "When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech." 

The Holy Spirit came upon them and filled them. The Holy Spirit gives us each unique gifts - spiritual gifts - but we'll talk more about that in a different post.

The Holy Spirit, the Son (Jesus), and the Father are the Holy Trinity. Three in one. I can't wrap my mine around it but here's something that might help you understand it better:
water. It's in three forms: liquid, steam, and ice. But even though in different forms it's still H2O. It's still water. That's what it's like the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and the Father... three in one. Father, Spirit, Son. It's hard to understand but that's okay... if we could understand God He wouldn't be God.

Ephesians 1:13, "When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit."

When we accept Jesus into our hearts then the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of us. The thing is, we can't live for Christ on our own. We need God's help. The Holy Spirit is there is guide us and help us. For instance, if you start talking to someone about the gospel then the Holy Spirit takes over. You can't 'mess up' when sharing the gospel... but if you don't start talking then the Holy Spirit can't take over. You have to be willing.

Acts 9:31, "So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace, being built up and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, and it increased in numbers."

"In the encouragement of the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit encourages us.

Sometimes we feel the urging to do something for Jesus. Like sing at the top of our lungs for praising Him. Or maybe to give money to missions. That's the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides us.

Also, the Holy Spirit tries to prevent us from doing the things of the flesh.

Galatians 5:24, "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

When we belong to Jesus we've crucified the flesh and its passions and desires... those of the flesh desire things of the flesh and those of the Spirit the things of the Spirit. We aren't to live for the flesh. But to live for God.


How can I apply this to my life?

That's a question I ask myself often after spending time in God's Word. How can I? Well there are a few things.....

  • Remember if you've accepted Jesus into your heart then you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you.
  • Tell others about Jesus - this is a hard one. But we can remember that the Holy Spirit is in us and will guide us.
  • To not satisfy the flesh... if we belong to Jesus the flesh is crucified... so stop trying to please it.
  • Listen to the Holy Spirit. But make sure it's the Holy Spirit. You can tell if its the Holy Spirit by spending time in Truth (the Bible). But when the Holy Spirit calls us to action we need to act. 

Those are a few things I saw... though I'm sure there are many more.


Any other things you can think of how to apply this to your life? Have you ever shared the gospel and felt the Holy Spirit take over? Have you given into the fleshes desires instead of the Holy Spirit's desires? (for that one I'm sure we all have)