So many times as Believers, we think a little bit of complacency with our Christian walk is just fine. Dabbling here and there in sin is no big deal. I know, I’ve done it myself…many times. None of us walk a perfect path in our day-to-day lives. We slip up, we make wrong decisions, we continue on in bad situations. We are human, and this will happen. The key is to get back on track as quickly as possible. ( I John 1:9) This verse in Philippians is always a check-point for me. When you apply it, it sifts out a lot of stuff that we think is okay…won’t hurt this time. Fill your life with this verse, use it as a ruler for your day-to-day walk with the Lord.
This is another verse that I used often when our children were small. It was the first verse I had them memorize. And with all the verses our children memorized, I tried to do the same. My memory skills were never great, and they have become worse as I grow older, but I tried. If nothing else, having five children learn them, helped to put them into my mind and recall them when I needed to.
I will make an exception to the statement I made about trying to memorize all the verses they were learning. By the time our children were in AWANA, they were learning them so quickly and so many, that I kind of gave up! Even after working with AWANA children for almost 15 years, hearing them recite the same verses over and over, I still did not have them completely memorized. But I did generally know where they were to be found in the Bible, and the general idea of the verse. At least enough for me to look them up and get them into context! Someday, if I am ever without my Bible, I pray those bits and pieces come together.
Psalm 56:3 King James Version (KJV)
3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
And here it is again:
Psalm 56:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Whenever possible, I had our children memorize a verse in the King James Version. I think it has a certain flow to it, and it is beautiful. I would use the New American Standard Bible to clarify if they were stumbling over a certain word. Which is why I like to include both on here.
The picture above and below made me think of this verse. You follow that boardwalk for the first time. You don’t know where it’s going, or what you’re going to find along the way. Our lives are rather like that much of the time. So, you head out, and when the path becomes twisting and dark, and you become afraid, you put your trust in Him. He will lead you through.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
You live until you die…well duh! Such a simple statement. Just five little words, that we should all take a little more seriously.
As we were singing in church yesterday morning, the words to the old hymn, I Am Resolved, really spoke to me, as they hushed my own voice.
For the past almost four years, we have struggled. Our family attended diligently, and was actively a part of a church since April of 1999. (We did go back to upstate New York for a couple years.) My husband was the pastor of this church the last two years we were there. Our son and two of our son-in-laws taught classes there and were on the board. For almost two years, we have not been a part of that ministry. Almost two years ago, my husband’s mother passed away. This was a woman that loved her children and grandchildren dearly, and she has left a hole in their lives.
To say that my husband has been struck-down is an understatement. To say that I have been there for him is not true. When I am hurt, I go into survival mode…and survive. And I want others to do the same. Sometimes, that just doesn’t work. Compassion is a trait I am working on.
The hymn yesterday morning caused me to think, and put things in better perspective, at least for a little while. Here are the words, and if you like, you may listen to it played on the piano. http://www.hymnpod.com/2009/12/31/i-am-resolved/
Our family no longer worships together. Because there are so many of us, we have felt it best to disperse. Our family doubles the congregation of a small church, and that is not always wanted. That is hurtful, but we humans wear our feelings on our sleeves, and just because you know Christ as your Savior, it doesn’t mean you have it all together. It means you are willing to let Christ into your life and guide you…or at least it should.
God has given us the local church to edify the saints…teach Believers the Bible, first and foremost. Then we are to use our spiritual gifts to build up fellow Believers, support that local assembly, and be a light in the community and the world around us. People need one another. We are to bear one another’s burdens. We are to love one another.
Not judge, bicker over items that really don’t matter, or get caught up in the world’s system of doing things. (I am not talking about government or laws here.) We are not to hurt one another in the local church or be a stumbling block. For more information on this, you may read Paul’s letters in the Bible. Some of these are I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians and Romans. And we are to have compassion and be a good, Godly testimony to the world.
Yes, it’s been a rough few years. We’ve had our feelings hurt, it’s caused us to stumble, wondering what we should do next, and where we should be. So those words in the hymn spoke to me. But it’s not about me…it’s about Christ and the price He has paid for us all. In the light of eternity, the hurts, the anger, and the stumbling do not matter.
You live until you die…and we will all physically die one day. As the old cliche goes, none of us are getting out of here alive. If you are saved, you have eternity in Heaven. As a Believer, the health issues, financial instability, housing, and our feelings, are not the issue. Our relationship with God and learning His Word is the issue. When we apply His Word in our lives, not just let it sit there, it changes us and the way we react and interact with others. All people. So you can have cancer, and still take joy in your world around you, and the people and things in it. You can lose a loved one, and feel that pain, but still go on. You can sacrifice all that you have for others, and still have more to give.
Life is not easy, but we are here for a time. Why not make the most of it? Greet the day with a smile, shrug off the little hurts, have confidence that God will take care of you. But it will be His way, His best plans for you out of the love He has.
And that is a love like no other. Be resolved to live your life for God and be Christ-like. Then you will be living until you die…that physical death. Your soul lives on.
Sunday morning…a day when most people would think of attending a church of their choice. Now it’s just another day in most people’s minds. A day to sleep in, barbecue, go to the park or watch a ball game. I can understand the thinking behind that. People today are rushed from one activity to another, usually working a couple of jobs to get by. We are tired physically and emotionally…and we want a break.
This post came to mind because of the readers on here that have clicked on the link, The church is called to be churchy, so deal with it. I don’t know why, but this site is no longer there. So I do apologize for those of you that have tried to read the article. It was a good one. He had several posts that really made you think. Maybe that’s why the site is gone…too much conviction going on.
I was also thinking of something our second oldest daughter asked about. She and her husband are experiencing some testing. She didn’t understand why it seemed like every time they decided to make a commitment to read the Bible, attend church, and just generally get things together in their lives spiritually…life became tougher.
What a question!
When a person first accepts Christ as their Savior, the world is pretty bright and new. It’s a wonderful feeling. You skip along, finally understanding a bit about the Bible and trusting in your destination.
But then life happens.
Many times a new Believer does not have follow-up. They don’t continue to grow in their relationship with God. They don’t find a church to attend where they can have fellowship and support, and learn about God’s Word. They don’t make time in their lives to read the Bible or pray. That new-found joy begins to evaporate until all there is left is the burden of life. This is a very sad scenario, because the new Believer never has a chance to develop that relationship with God and other Believers. They don’t have the opportunity to have the rewards and blessings of the Christian life that make this worldly life more bearable.
Then there is the older Believer. They have been plugging away for years, and that first joy has disappeared. Sometimes the thinking is, “What does it matter if I go to church or read my Bible? Who cares if I pray? I don’t see any results.” They lose heart and just rest on the fact that they will go to Heaven someday. That is good enough.
But is it? God sent His only Son to die for us.
1 John 4:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 2:2(NASB)
2 and He Himself is the [a]propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
So why can’t we as Believers put a little effort into our Christian Walk?
I think that God allows a new Believer a chance to get their feet wet. They can stroll down the path of that new gift of salvation. The canopy of trees overhead shades them from the bright sun, and the birds chirp merrily. No stones impede the progress as the Babe in Christ drifts along.
But God doesn’t want us to stay there! A mountain climber isn’t content stepping over an ant hill. A surfer doesn’t want to dabble their feet in a brook. The long-distance runner won’t be motivated by a casual walk around the block. A pastor won’t only teach on salvation, but give the whole council of God. Any new mother loves her baby, but she wants them to grow up someday. And that’s what God wants of us…His children.
A mountain climber doesn’t get better by stepping over ant hills. He or she has to climb higher and more rough terrain to progress. The surfer has to find bigger waves to hone their skills. Someone that runs marathons has to run…a lot, or they aren’t ready for that race. A pastor that really wants to lead his flock and teach them God’s Word has to study and pray so that he knows what his congregation needs. Parents gain knowledge of their children over the years by caring for them and then instructing them in the ways of life.
So why do so many Christians just want to be saved…and call it good?
The Christian Walk is all of those items I mentioned above, put together and then some. In order to grow in Christ and abide in Him, you have to put the time in. The more time you grow, the harder the journey becomes. Often that path is strewn with rocks and boulders, deep crevices beside the road. The shade is intermittent and the glare of the sun is blinding. There are days, weeks and sometimes months when the birds stop singing. The Believer that perseveres finds great blessing and reward at the end of their journey, just the same as the mountain climber, the surfer, the runner, the pastor and the parent.
But the rewards for the Believer are so much better! I love this conversation that Jesus Christ has with his Disciples in John 14. It shows that people have always been human, struggling with the answers. It also shows Christ’s patience with us.
John 14 (NASB)
Jesus Comforts His Disciples
14 “Do not let your heart be troubled; [a]believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, thatwhere I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Oneness with the Father
7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
8 Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”9 Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; andgreater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
Role of the Spirit
16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [b]Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 [c]After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”22 Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 30 I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father,[d]I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.
For me, I desire the close relationship with God. I want to abide in Christ and seek Him first in all that I do. No, I’m not always successful…and no Believer is. My path is often rocky and full of crevices and there are days when I want to sit down and not continue. But prayer and God’s Word strengthen me so that I may get up and forge ahead…because I know the rewards…the medal, is there at the end.
We’ve all just watched the Olympics. We’ve seen people from all around the world dedicate their lives to one event…for a medal. That medal won’t last into eternity. Think about your own life, your priorities, the daily chores you put so much effort into. Will they be there for you in eternity?
As a Believer, my life should be centered around God and His priorities. Spending a Sunday morning in church with other Believers, reading my Bible, spending time in prayer rather than complaining, shouldn’t be too hard. Let’s put forth the effort.
I have always been amazed that whenever I go to the Bible, God leads me to be where I should be reading. It is not always what I want to hear or apply to my life. Some of it is written for a certain people in a different time period, but applications can be made. This is what I turned to this morning, and I wanted to share it with all of you.
1)Praise ye the Lord, I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. 2)The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all of them that have pleasure therein. 3)His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. 4)He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. 5)He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant. 6)He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. 7)The works of his hands are verity and judgement: all his commandments are sure. 8)They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. 9)He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. 10)The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Scripture copied from the authorized King James Version of the Bible.)
Wow! My Christian walk has been a little shaky over the past few weeks. When you have been through a battle, and injured, you have to heal. Not just physically, but mentally and spiritually. That takes time. You start out with small, shaky, baby steps, but you keep walking, and you stay on the path. God will lead and direct, he will provide light and shelter when you need it.
I encourage you to read the above passage again and again. I used the King James Version today because that is what I use in my writing. I think it is a beautiful translation, one that I had our children memorize in. It flows and sounds very pretty. For everyday reading, I usually use my New American Standard, a little easier to understand at times. But I think the above is pretty clear.
Christmas is drawing near. It is very easy to ‘get off the path’ and put our minds on other ‘things’. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle and all the ‘things’ we ‘should’ do. Please remember that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior. Keep him FIRST in all your activities and thoughts of the day. It will not return void!