When we use the gifts and talents that God has provided us, there is a constant temptation to begin to believe we are something special. At some point, we begin to think that it is our talent and work that is making a difference in the world. The implications of that are sad. We lose the focus of why we are ministering and we lose the blessing of seeing God do great things. In addition, our ministry becomes a competition—some sort of way to curry favor with God.
The irony is, God could not love us any more than he already does. His love is complete and unconditional. When we begin to set him aside and minister in our own power, we are showing we do not trust him to love us as we are. If we are to be proud of our ministry, that pride should focus on how great he is and not on how great we are. To you be the glory, my Lord!
God Bless You
7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. 8 So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. 9 I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.
12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
The only way to win in the battle we face each day is to fight with the weapons God delivers. If we try to face the world on its terms, we will be swallowed up and destroyed. Make no mistake, It will seem like we are on top of things—after all people can relate to the strategy and goals. But, truth is we must fight on our knees in prayer. We must battle with his word. We surround ourselves with others in the faith and draw close to battle together–not judging, not in pride, but, simply acting as a family. Then as we battle, we see God’s mighty hand complete the victory on our behalf. Help me, Lord to walk subject to your leadership and wage war yoiur way; not mine.
God Bless You
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
In forty plus years of following the Lord, I have sensed there has been an ongoing uneasiness regarding giving. It is clear that the church and other Christian organizations cannot operate without funding. But, when asked, most of the family feels like they are being badgered for money and that is in someway not spiritual. Truth is, we have to be willing to give what from we have been given. It needs to be a thing we do as a pleasure and not an obligation.
If we gripe about giving back, it is worse than not giving at all. You only feel emptiness and bitterness—and you won’t even get the pleasure of seeing God bless you for it. We have to realize all we have is from him. We also must realize we are the family. Give with a smile. Trust you will never be able to outgive God. God really does love a cheerful giver.
God Bless You
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God
Let’s purify ourselves. I heard a great sermon this weekend. The pastor talked about compromise and how it affected all areas of our lives. He told his personal testimony of how little things had transformed him into someone else. Someone he did not like. God knew we cannot dabble in sin and not be affected.
Instead, God wants purity in our lives. He asks us to walk according to his standard so that we can enjoy a life free from the pain and stain of sin. The only way to accomplish it is to do it day by day. God welcomes repentance and holiness. We simply need to surrender to him the areas of our lives that draw us away from him. It is a journey—we must remember to keep moving forward releasing anything that restricts our ability to keep going!
God Bless You
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. 4 I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.
5 For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
It remains a matter of perspective. Paul reminds us that we are not to be controlled by circumstance, but, instead, we are to walk in the faith despite our circumstances. God is faithful and will meet our needs even when that seems impossible. When we focus on the circumstances before us, it is easy to fall prey to depression and discouragement. We must continue to forge a life that honors him and makes us holy. We seek him and watch him do mighty things in our lives. Thanks Lord for continuing to meet our needs and carrying us through our circumstances.
God Bless You
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything
It all boils down to this, when we surrender to the Lord, we become citizens of Heaven. From that moment until we join him, We are striving to get home. We are no longer at home in this world. It has different values culture and view of life. BUT, what is even more amazing is that the very body we live in is uncomfortable. We are looking forward to the heavenly body that we will use for eternity. It does not ache, it does not gain weight, the hair does not fall out—no, in the end, it is eternal and perfect.
While here, we want to honor God with our lives. We want to seek him, act like him, hide in him and share him with all we know. But—it is ok to realize this world is not our home and it is ok to long for heaven and our heavenly bodies.
God Bless You
1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked… 6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Sometimes we forget how temporal we are. But, we do not need to look far to see that life is fleeting, that circumstances are difficult—But, God is God, and we are not. In those times when we feel hopeless and out of control, we must cling to the truth of his word. We are in the midst of a war, but it is one we do not have to face by ourselves. He is with us and braces us as we face the sometime overwelming and insurrmountable circumstances of the day. We are so fortunate to know that in the midst of the struggle our faith can honor him. We simply must remember as we walk, we walk with him and he will carry us through. Help me Lord to remain faithful in my walk with you.
God Bless You
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.