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Who Could Use Your Encouragement Today?

Who Could Use Your Encouragement Today?

So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. Romans 14:19 (HCSB) • God wants us to build one another up — The word support literally means to increase one another’s potential. It carries the idea of strengthening one another, to make one another more able to face the challenges of living for Christ. “We are in this fight together” (Philippians 1:30 NLT). We cannot afford to lose anyone. To succeed, you need the strength supplied by the Body of Christ, just as they need you. • God wants us to stand along side one another — “Encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 11:25, NIV). God does this for us. He “supports us in every hardship, so that we are able to come to the support of others, in every hardship of theirs because of the encouragement that we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:14). We’re created to stand along side one another. • God wants us be patient with one another — When we support one another, we express unconditional love. Even after we grow close enough to each other to learn one another’s quirks and annoying little habits, we will stick by each other’s side. “With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love” (Ephesians 4:2 NJB). Is there someone who could use your encouragement today? Don’t wait until later! Encourage them...

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Jesus Accepted You; Now You Accept Others

Jesus Accepted You; Now You Accept Others

So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Romans 15:7 (MSG)   God wants you to accept others in the same way that Jesus accepted you. In faith, we accepted God’s acceptance of us – through Christ – when we were unacceptable, and so we love God by freely offering the same gift – His acceptance – to others. To love God and to be to others what He is to us … We must be willing to be for others — God’s life is a life for others. He always is and does what is best for others. He has a non-selective love for all others. To love God is to have — in faith — a non-selective readiness to be for others … all others … any specific other God sends your way. We must see others as God sees them — True love, God’s love, is not blind. It sees what those living for themselves do not see. We set aside our judgments in order to “see what eyes have not seen and ears cannot hear” (I Cor. 2:9) so we can help those in...

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The Great Omission

The Great Omission

Among the last words Jesus gave His followers are those known as “The Great Commission.” He instructed His followers to, “Go into all the world and make disciples of the nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them.” It is obvious believers have failed to fulfill the Great Commission because of a Great Omission. We have gone forth preaching and proclaiming the Gospel, but not necessarily teaching the importance of becoming disciples of Jesus. Too often we have omitted the truly weightier matters of the Word. Christians are failing to grow in the grace they were born into and do not live under the influence of this transforming power in the here and now. Jesus told perhaps the most religious person He ever encountered, Nicodemus, he would never enter heaven (future) or have life now unless he was “born from above.” Jesus was describing a supernatural birth. The result of this spiritual birth creates in the heart a desire to be fruitful. Any lack of desire on the part of professing church members to be fruitful is a legitimate reason to “examine yourself whether you be of the faith.” Believers are misguided when they try to be like other church members rather than holding on to Jesus. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” (John 15:3-8) There is no clearer evidence of spiritual birth than the desire to know and please our heavenly Father.When born again believers are challenged to become Christ-like, there is a supernatural witness within their heart. The garden of God longs for the light of His presence and the water of His Word necessary to be fruitful. Pastors and church leaders must encourage this desire. We have substituted the commission to “make disciples” with “making church members.” Membership has been substituted for relationship. People are misled into becoming part of an organization rather than part of a living organism – the church, the very Body of Christ. The light of God’s glory, grace and truth is consistently hidden by conformity, comfort and compromise. Without question, far too many professing to be Christians...

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If Jesus was on Facebook, who would be on his friends list?

If Jesus was on Facebook, who would be on his friends list?

I can remember a number of years ago when somebody told me there was going to be an information superhighway and how revolutionary it was going to be. I thought to myself, That sounds like a crazy and unrealistic possibility. How wrong I was. I admit that I am not technologically up to speed. I have, however, learned to use an iPad—barely. I can look at my calendar, and retrieve phone numbers and addresses from my list of contacts. Our grandchildren were surprised and some thought it was awesome when they got a text message from their Papaw’s cell phone. I think it put them in a brief moment of shock, but they were thrilled to respond. Now we are actually following our family and some very close friends on Facebook. Betty is the one who utilizes it every day. Betty loves to follow our grandchildren. She checks daily for family-related pictures our children may post. We’re both thrilled to see the inspirational comments, including many Scripture passages that our family posts on their page. (Please caution all family members that they will likely receive requests from people they should not and must not accept.) Time magazine named Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as its “Person of the Year” in 2010. The article about him is fascinating (Time, Dec. 15, 2010). It states that one out of every 12 people on the planet uses Facebook, with 700,000 new members joining each day. (We encourage you to connect with Scriptures and Quotes at http://www.facebook.com/Scriptures. I often post Scriptures and Quotes I hope you’ll find meaningful.) In seven years, Zuckerberg created a social network almost twice as large as the United States. Nearly half of all Americans are on Facebook—and even more significantly, 70% of all Facebook users live outside the United States. It’s a global phenomenon. Zuckerberg’s success is undeniable, and I have heard nothing concerning his faith or a relationship with God. As I do for all people who obviously are in a position of influence, I pray that some co-worker or employee will effectively share Christ with this gifted entrepreneur. Now the important question: If Jesus was on Facebook, who would be on his friends list? Would you? We should all want to be! Because of his faith, Abraham was referred to as “a friend of God.” Jesus spoke very clearly concerning those He would call friends. When challenging His disciples to be fruitful by abiding in Him, keeping His commandments in order that His joy would be in them and the joy would be made full, He was very specific in the next verses: “This is my commandment, that you love one another,...

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Go in Grace, but Change Your Life

Go in Grace, but Change Your Life

I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again. John 8:11 (TEV)   Grace is meant to justify the sinner – ‘Go and sin no more.’ Grace is never meant to justify our sins – ‘Everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are.’ In other words, the grace of God is not a cosmic ‘get out of jail free’ card. Grace is given freely, but it cost Jesus a bloody price to offer it to us: “Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13 NLT) Grace is given freely, but to walk in grace with Jesus will cost us everything as we join Jesus in “the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Ephesians 2:10 MSG) Jesus rescued the woman caught in adultery from certain death, but his expectation was that her life would change immediately. To return to her old life would have mocked the very grace that Jesus offered her that day. His expectation of a changed life is no different for us: Go in my grace, and sin no...

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