Ambassadors for Reconciliation

Ambassadors for Reconciliation

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Observations) God, out of His love and mercy, rescued transgressors against Him through Jesus Christ.  This rescue from death is undeserved.  It is a gift to those who will believe. We who are “saved, through faith” have “good works” prepared by God “in advance for us to do.” (Interpretation) God’s rescue of transgressors from the death they deserve to eternal life with Him in heaven by faith in His Son Jesus Christ does not transport the new believer immediately to heaven.  I suggest to you that God’s purpose for the new believer includes “good works” that are to be revealed as the believer lives out the rest of his life on earth.  Further, I suggest that these “good works” include the sharing of the good news about Jesus Christ as He presents opportunities “prepared in...
An Inexpensive Virtue

An Inexpensive Virtue

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 Many Christian virtues prove to be expensive when applied in interpersonal relationships. For example, it costs to be generous and to love your enemies – especially when you define “love” as treating others the way you wish to be treated. Most agree that to love those trying to hurt you is indeed difficult. Not so kindness; of all the Christ-like virtues it is the least costly. It costs you nothing to be gentle, kind, gracious, considerate. For this reason, you never have an excuse for being rude, abrasive, unkind, or cruel. Never belittle another person. Never humiliate others, joke at their expense, ridicule, speak in a sarcastic, caustic tone, or say things you know they would not appreciate. No one likes people doing it to them, and you never have a legitimate excuse for doing it to others. I have heard men and women say to family members what they would never say to a stranger. They lose their temper and say cruel things because they are secure enough in the relationship that they think they can afford it. From God’s perspective, you can never afford such abusive behavior! Never forget the warning of our Savior: “I tell you, on the Day of Judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter.” 1 1.   Matthew 12:36 KJV For more articles by Walt...
Old School – New Opportunities

Old School – New Opportunities

Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only that which is useful for building up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. I prefer to meet with guys in a public setting, a restaurant, coffee shop etc. for discipleship. Most of the guys I meet with have opted to use the Bible app on their smart phone or some other electronic version of the Bible for reference during our time together. While I certainly use my Bible app frequently, when meeting one-on-one, I prefer to lug my old school “hard copy” of the Bible with me. Over the years, during discipleship meetings, I have been asked by many others who happened to be in the restaurant or coffee shop, (at another table etc.), if I was a pastor, or if I could pray for them. I have found that God has opened opportunities as I attempted to be a part of the process of “…building up others according to their needs…”. It seems to me that when I am in a public place, without realizing it, I find there are lots of “…those who listen.” While the things said are important, it has been my experience that simply having the Bible on the table can open doors. A few years ago, one of my “Timothys” cancelled our meeting. I elected to go to the restaurant on my own to use the additional time to work on my Bible study (on which I was woefully behind). I asked for a table in what looked to be a section that was...
Conviction

Conviction

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. 23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. (Observation) Paul says He is “free from all men” and follows with a list of people groups, to whose outlook, Paul has subjected himself in order to “win” them to a saving faith in the good news about Jesus. Lastly, Paul adds the motive that he “may become a fellow partaker of it.” (Interpretation) I suggest to you that Paul’s intentional subjection to others is motivated by his desire that everyone whom God brings across his path have a chance to be a “fellow” with him by faith in Jesus. like his Father in heaven, Paul is not willing “that one of these little ones perish.” So, Paul becomes a “fellow” with those not of his own kind in order that he may,...
Our Thoughts vs Our Ways

Our Thoughts vs Our Ways

“A man may arrange his thoughts, but what he says depends on the LORD.” Proverbs 16:1 Scripture teaches many things that are counter-intuitive. This is one of them: God determines what you say. You may determine what you think about, but God determines what happens next. Solomon also said, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”1 Because Judas entertained evil thoughts concerning the Savior, God incited him to execute them. In this verse God says He also determines what a person says. My mother warned her children to guard their tongues, for words once spoken can never be rescinded. The problem with words is, they lodge in the minds of those listening, and at the most inopportune time return to the memory with disturbing effect. Solomon warned that the only way you can control your tongue is to control your thoughts. When you think about something you cannot guarantee that you will not say what you think. Thus Proverbs contains an astonishing truth: We are responsible for our thoughts, but based on them, God determines what we say. Our instincts may suggest otherwise, but this is what God promises. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”2  Because our words reflect our thoughts, God will judge us, in part, on the basis of our words: “…every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”3 1    Proverbs 23:7 2   Matthew 12:34 3   Matthew 12:36 For more articles by Walt...
The Word

The Word

The Word: The Bible, the Word of God is the key to all we believe. To waffle in your thinking on the accuracy and authority of the Word, is to disrupt your relationship and walk with God. Your commitment to the Word is a key to your walk with Christ. 1:8 “This book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it by day and by night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall act wisely”. 1Pe 1:23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the living Word of God, and abiding forever. Instead of a treatise on The Word, let me ask 11 Questions on the subject: 1. Have you ever read/studied the history of the bible and how it came about? If not, when are you going to? 2. Do you know the history of the canonization? 3. Do you believe in a closed or open cannon? 4. Do you believe the bible is inerrant? 5. If you don’t a. What parts are errant to you? b. Can you trust Jesus history and teachings, i.e. His use of Jonah as a historical character? c. If you don’t embrace inerrancy are you declaring your opinion as more accurate than God’s? d. Since Jesus quoted the bible often, what are we to conclude? 6. Do you have problems of squaring the bible with the archeologist? 7. Can you accept creation account? 8. Are scripture teachings, like...