Put the Bible into Practice

It’s important to not just read the Bible. We must put it into practice in our daily lives.

In Philippians 4:9, the apostle Paul urges us “whatever you have learned or receive or heard from me, or seen in me, put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Here is an example. A few verses beforehand, in Philippians 4:6, Paul teaches us “Do not be anxious about anything…”. In this chapter he’s also talking about living with the joys Christ in our lives and being content with the ups and downs of life.

Do you want to remain anxious or stressed out about things or do you want the peace of God to be with you?

Like Paul, I urge you to exchange the anxiety and discontented feelings of this life with the peace that comes from God alone.

Are you a worthy disciple?

I was reading Philippians 3:17 today where Paul encourages others to follow his example of pursuing Christ. In the study notes, it asked a wonderful question, “What kind of follower would a new Christian become if he or she imitated you?”

So a thought to consider today is what kind of disciple of Christ are you? What example are you setting for others? Is it an example worth following?

Love is an Action Plain and Simple

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18 NIV)

These are profound words from the apostle John. Such words are even more profound with some greater context.

Let’s back track to verse 17…
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John 3:17 NIV)

Having pity on someone in need goes beyond merely feeling bad for them. What help is that? I think this also goes beyond the knee jerk “I’ll pray for you” response.

Notice it says if anyone with material possessions… This clearly implies that if you have material resources to help, then help by providing those material resources. Right?

Another verse is highly relevant here from James:
“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” (James 2:15, 16 NIV)

Love is an action…plain and simple. If you and I aren’t loving in action, we aren’t loving. We are commanded to love God and love others. So don’t stop at “I’ll pray for you”. Love by giving what you have to help someone in need. Amen!

Ps, here is a link to a dear christian couple in need. Becky and Larry Knight are facing eviction from their home. Help (love them) if you can: http://www.gofundme.com/aa65w8

True Religion.

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“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

 

 

 
What is religion all about? Is it worship on a Sunday? Is it working hard? Is it letting others know about Jesus? All these things are true, but what does God say is the real heart, pure and faultless religion that He accepts as true?
First, there is a demonstration of an inward transformation: “to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Pure and simple, we have a significant God-given obligation to help the poor.
Second, we are called not to hide away from the world because this would make the first part impossible but to “keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Live in the world and fully participate, but don’t take on its values and distortions.
Quick Prayer: Thank You that true religion has a practical application. Amen.

 

best regards and God bless,

 

 

 

Asked.

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“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Mat 5:42)

 

 

 
How are we asked to respond to those in need around us? What is our response to be to those who ask for help? Give and do not turn away. As we open our hands, we open our hearts. As we walk in obedience, we open our hearts and our hands follow suit. It is a virtuous cycle of love and giving.
If we live our lives this way, God will pour out His provision as He finds vessels willing to be His hands and His feet with His heart. Ministering to those around us is not only telling them about Jesus but also demonstrating His heart by meeting the needs of those who need help.
Quick Prayer: I am available to bless someone today. Send me someone who needs help. Amen.
best regards and God bless,

 

 

 

Give as you Can.

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“According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.” (Ezr 2:69)

 

 

The seemingly eternal question: how much should I give? If we have moved on from, “Should I give?” to the next stage, the question remains. We are called to give “according to our ability.” Each one of us has been blessed in different ways and with different measure. We are to give according to our resources, yet we all have a part to play.

It is not the amount or even the proportion, but we are all able and willing to be a part of God’s work and a reflection of His heart. Look at what God has already blessed you with.

Decide in your thankful heart what to give, and give cheerfully according to your ability.

Quick Prayer: Thank You that You ask me to give according to what You have already given me. Amen.

best regards and God bless,

 

 

How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home

Slide1Every Imperfect and Normal Family wants their kids to turn out right. So, we establish goals for character development and try to create an environment where our kids can mature. Church, school, sports teams, family relationships… each of these provides a context where our kids can learn to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Unfortunately, our “good” objectives might have absolutely nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we inadvertently end up raising pagans instead of Christians.

 We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.

Too many times, (Christian) parents have it as their goal to make their kids good and moral. It is as if the entire purpose of their family’s spiritual life is to shape their children into law-abiding citizens who stay out of trouble. The only problem with this goal is that it runs in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. The gospel is not about making bad people moral, but about making dead people alive. If we teach morality without the transforming power of the gospel and the necessity of a life fully surrendered to God’s will, then we are raising moral pagans.

We end up teaching the wrong thing because we have the wrong objectives.

This sentiment was stirred in me afresh when I read an interview with Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer. He was reflecting on how the “Christian message” he was trying to teach wasn’t Christianity at all…

“I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, “Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,” or “Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!” But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality. . .

And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god.”

So what is your objective?

Do you teach your kids “be good because the Bible tells you to” or do you teach your kids that they will never be good without Christ’s offer of grace? There is a huge difference. One leads to moralism; the other leads to brokenness. One leads to self-righteousness; the other leads to a life that realizes that Christ is everything and that nothing else matters.

I want my kids to be good. We all do. But as our kids grow up, the truth of the gospel can easily get lost somewhere between salvation (where we know we need Jesus) and living life (where we tend to say “I’ve got this”). My experience is that the vast majority of parents are encouraging moral behavior in their kids so that God will bless their (usually self-centered) pursuits. It’s the American Dream plus Jesus. And it produces good, moral pagans.

Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones.

Consider the key objectives you have for your kids. Seriously, take a minute to think about what would deem you a successful parent. If your goals are focused on your kids’ behavior, their happiness, or their accomplishments (but don’t include a dependence upon Christ and a submission to His will and work), then you might want to make some adjustments.

Because the world has enough pagans. Even plenty of really nice ones. What we need is kids who fully grasp the reality that they have nothing to offer, but who intimately know a God who has everything they need.

*I have added a follow-up post that offer some suggestions of How to Guide Your Kid to a Faith That Lasts. I hope it’s helpful!

*Check out my brand new book: The Talk(s): A Parent’s Guide to Talking about Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables. It has been developed to assist parents as they help their kids navigate our hyper-sexualized culture. Whether your kids are 6 or 16, it provides practical help to help your kids to make wise choices in a messed-up world. Find out more at www.infoforfamilies.com.