Tag Archives: being a Christian

Your Job Description

1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

What does it mean to be a follower of God, a disciple of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to be part of a church fellowship, worshiping and serving with other like-minded believers? I think Paul gives us a pretty good job description. ( I’m using the NLT today)

  1. Warn those who are lazy. The thing is, none of us should be idle. James tells us our faith
    without works is dead faith. Those who are satisfied to sit on the sidelines need to be warned of that.
  2. Encourage the timid. Baby steps. A new believer, or a believer who hesitates to serve for any reason, needs someone to come along side and support them until they are ready to fly. It’s another description of mentoring.
  3. Take tender care of those who are weak. And who isn’t weak at one time or another? Yet we so often end up condemning the weak instead of nurturing them and giving them the spiritual PT they need be be strong.
  4. Be patient with everyone. Not just the people you like. We are all works in progress.
  5. See that no one repays evil for evil. Paul is not just saying YOU shouldn’t do that. He is telling you to be sure I’m not doing that, either. Yes, we are accountable for each other.
  6. Do good to each other and to all people. Look around. Jesus died for that person, and that person, and that one. Reach out to them for Jesus’ sake.
  7. Always be joyful. That might be a tough one because we all go through times of deep sorrow. Does Paul mean we are to put on a sappy smile? If you are a believer, I think you understand the difference between happiness, and the gift of joy from the Holy Spirit. It’s not just a feeling. It’s what comes from knowing our sins are forgiven, from a right standing with God, and a relationship with our precious Jesus. It’s not dependent on circumstances, but rather on the person of Jesus Christ.
  8. Never stop praying. That constant conversation with our Lord is vital to our relationship with Him, and our service for Him.
  9. Be thankful in everything, for this is God’s will. Yeah, thankful. Everything. Paul counted it a privilege to suffer for the Name, thankful for the chance to represent God even to the people who persecuted him. You have an opportunity to be a light to people living in darkness, through whatever you are dealing with today. Are you thankful for the privilege?
  10. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. You stifle the Holy Spirit when you are holding on to a sin rather than repenting of it.
  11. Do not scoff at prophecies but test everything you hear according to God’s written Word. There are a lot of things being tossed around today by people claiming to speak for God. Can you tell the difference between who is true to God’s Word, and who is speaking Satan’s lies? Open your Bible!
  12. Hold on to what is good. Hold on, dear one. Our world is calling bad good and good bad. You need to know the difference, then hold on to what is good with all your might.
  13. Stay away from every kind of evil. That might mean turning off your TV, walking away from a group of friends, coming out from among the ungodly and being separate. We are told to be holy as God is holy. We can’t be holy if we continue to sin without repentance.

So how did you stack up as a child of God according to Paul’s job description? I know there are some things I need to change if I want the privilege of doing that job well. I believe if our churches were filled with people who fit that description we would see an epic outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and many lost people would find their Savior.

And isn’t that what we want to see as followers of God, disciples of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit, and members of His Church?

July 25; Backsliding Is A Slippery Slope

Jeremiah 2-4

God, through  Jeremiah, is talking to His children. This message is not for those outside the family of God, not for the unsaved, but for us who know God as our Father. He is talking to the ancient Jews, and to Christians this side of the cross.

He calls us an unfaithful wife, someone who wants to be married AND live like we aren’t. God, in chapter 3, tells us He doesn’t want a divorce, so He warns us, begs us to return to Him. But Jeremiah tells us God’s bride continues in her unfaithfulness. So to her He says:

“Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” (3:22)

Then in chapter 4, God tells us what coming back to Him looks like. Warren Wiersbe, in his Bible handbook entitled “With The Word” wrote an outline I’d like to share with you today. You can find his words on page 499 of that handbook. (Oliver-Nelson Books, copyright 1991)

  1. Returning to God looks like plowing a field (3:3). Breaking up the hard ground and planting only good seed is the picture here. A hard heart needs breaking to make it fertile. Am I willing to let God break my heart?
  2. It looks like surgery (vs 4). Circumcising the heart involves the painful cutting away of anything that identifies us with the world. But, like with surgery, the pain is temporary, the benefits long-lasting. What is it God is asking me to cut away today?
  3. Returning to God looks like joining the army (vv 5-6, 19-21). I remember when my nephew joined the army, he left home. We couldn’t go with him and, really, he wouldn’t want Aunt Connie following him around during training anyway. He tells us that training was hard, not always fun, they broke him in order to build him up. But that kid came home a man. That training changed him into a soldier. The Bible tells us a soldier answers the call of the trumpet, drops everything else, and reports for duty. Do we realize there is a battle raging in our lives? Returning to God might involve going back to boot camp, to study, to put on the whole armor of God, to pray, to go. God’s trumpet is blaring. Am I answering the call?
  4. It looks like taking a bath (vs 14). If we want to return to God we’ve got to wash the evil from our hearts, purify our minds, allow God to scrub the enemy off of us and get rid of any trace of the world. Paul calls it coming out from among them and being separate. God deserves a bride who is totally His. Does that describe me? Or do I still have a smudge of filth on my face?
  5. It looks like growing up (vs 22). Jesus tells us to come to Him like a child, but that’s different than being childish. Maybe it’s time I quit playing around and got serious about my relationship with God. Maybe it’s time I quit demanding my own way, throwing tantrums when I don’t get what I think I deserve. Maybe it’s time I quit putting myself at the center of my life like a two-year-old, and put my Bridegroom where He deserves to be.

Backsliding doesn’t come on anyone suddenly. It starts with a thought, a look, a taste. It starts with busy schedules that steal our time away from God’s Word, or from church on Sunday. It begins as a thought, then a desire, then an action. And one action leads to another, then another. That gradual stepping away from God is a slippery slope.

Hear God tell us to STOP! Hear Him beg us to return to Him, to do whatever it takes to be that Bride He deserves, even if the process is painful and humbling. God wants His Bride back. That means you, dear one!

Ephesians; Royal Rules

Being an American, I’m not that familiar with British Royalty. I’m not what you’d call a Royal Enthusiast, although I do like watching the weddings. So, after reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I Googled Royal Rules. Here are a few that stood out to me:

  1. No one eats after the Queen is through with her meal.
  2. A Royal wedding bouquet must contain myrtle.
  3. You can’t have political views
  4. You can’t play the board game “Monopoly.”
  5. Married women don’t wear hats after 6 PM – bring on the tiaras.
  6. You can’t eat shellfish
  7. You can’t take selfies
  8. Garlic isn’t allowed in Buckingham Palace
  9. Neither are potatoes, rice, and pasta
  10. You never turn your back toward the Queen

(from “50 Strict Rules the Royal Family Has to Follow, marieclaire.com)

After reading Galatians the other day, I was reminded that I am an heir, a member of the most royal family of all – God’s Church. Today I am convicted about that very thing. Paul, in Ephesians, tells us what a Royal should look like. I’m asking myself if I’m living my life worthy of the calling:

  1. Be completely humble
  2. Be gentle, patient, loving
  3. Be a peace-maker
  4. Speak truth in love
  5. Put off falsehood
  6. Don’t sin in anger
  7. Don’t be obscene
  8. Don’t be impure
  9. Don’t be greedy
  10. Don’t be partners with those who are disobedient

There’s more. Paul goes on to describe in further detail what we who are heirs of the Promise, children of the King of Kings should look like. I encourage you to read Ephesians for yourself.

I’m thinking if those British Royals can take that much care to represent the Queen in such a manner, shouldn’t I take more care to represent my King?

Psalms 90-95; The Chutney Chicks

I like to golf. Before I moved to Georgia I would get together with some women from work and golf fairly regularly. I love these women. We are not great golfers, but we’re pretty good at laughing at ourselves. Golfing with them is fun and relaxing.

These women know I go to church. They observe that my lifestyle is different from their’s. So when we golf, they tend to clean up their vocabulary out of respect for me. I appreciate it, but I tell them I want them to just be themselves around me.

Anyway, one afternoon one of the ladies missed what should have been an easy putt. She began to use the “S” word, but stopped herself, looked at me, and said, “Chutney.” As I’m sitting here writing this I am laughing out loud, just remembering the sheepish look on her face. I laughed that day, too. So did all of us. And from then on, whenever one of the girls felt a vulgar word coming out of her mouth, we’d hear, ‘Chutney!”

In fact, when our school district did a team-building activity, we were Team Chutney Chicks. As I recall we didn’t do well in that completion, either. I digress.

This came to mind today as I read these psalms. Listen to 90:8:

You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

Then the psalmist goes on to say in verse 11:

Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.

It’s not my wrath anyone should fear. Not my ears people should have respect for. It’s God’s. He sees it all, and hears it all anyway. We can’t dress up our secret sins in a harmless word, or action, and think we got away with something. God is not a fool.

If you act one way around Christians, and another around non-believers you have a problem. Why do you care what Christians think about you? We’re not your judge. But there is One who is, and He’s watching and listening. He is the One of whom your actions should reflect your respect.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. (Psalm 95:3-5)

Yep. That God. He is the One who deserves… no, demands… our consideration, our respect, our fear, and our devotion.